Hello friends, family, and all the wonderful people who have been following my website for the past few years.
I just wanted to give you a few words on the upcoming changes to my website ‘Life After Elizabeth’.
For those of you who may not know, I created this website a few years ago as a tribute to my big sister, Elizabeth. Writing here month after month has been the most powerful form of therapy to me, and still is. My sister’s death in 2013 forever changed my life. There were so many intense emotions bounded tightly together that the only thing that made me feel even the tiniest better was to write. Writing gave me a chance to release those thoughts and memories that felt too painful to hold inside. It happened at my pace, in my time, when I was ready. I also didn’t have to change my words, or be a certain way, to make it easier for someone else to handle. Having this little sliver of the internet to release my thoughts gave me the chance to work through my grief.
I thank you all for following along with my journey, liking my posts, and commenting on whatever has resonated with you. It’s meant a lot to me to read your thoughtful comments. It also reminded me that I’m never alone. Even in moments that are so terrible, it sometimes feels like no one else gets it, there’s a little comment or message from someone who says “me too” and wow, it’s so healing.
As you might’ve read in one of my previous posts, I’m studying an Advanced Diploma in Art Therapy & Counselling and *should* be graduating by the end of May. That is if COVID does not further derail any more of my carefully, well laid out plans. But either way, student life is coming closer to an end and I want to start marketing myself as a professional Art Therapist. So, Life After Elizabeth will transform into less of a personal blog and more into a website that focuses on helping people heal through creative art – writing, movement, painting, poetry – in just the same way I helped myself. In all honesty, not much will change. I mostly just wanted to give you a heads up so you aren’t alarmed when you see that the name of the website has changed from Life After Elizabeth to Art Therapy with Kimberly.
In a way, it feels like a natural evolution. This website was exactly what I needed to make sense of a loss as tragic as my own sister’s. It was my digital diary and Life After Elizabeth will still continue. Life will always be split into two distinct parts: the first half of my life when I was with Elizabeth; a young carefree kid playing, discovering and growing up around the world together. And then the second half: a 25 year old girl who had to learn how to make sense of a world without her sister. It’s in the second part where I take what I learned from everything and channel it back into the world as a force of healing, empathy and creative expression to others who need it.
It sort of reminds me of the concept of paying it forward, a movie my sister used to love. If you haven’t seen ‘Pay it Forward’ – I really recommend you watch it. It’s about a boy in high school who has to come up with an idea to make the world a better place. The boy, Hayley Joel Osment (who I always thought looked like my sister when she was young) comes up with the idea of doing good deeds to three different people, and instead of repaying him, they do three good deeds to three other people, and it goes on. He called the concept, “paying it forward.” Elizabeth was deeply moved by this and often talked about the little ways she paid it forward. Some of the things were funny and sweet, and others were slightly illegal – like the time she worked for a shoe store and ‘accidentally’ forgot to charge a woman for a pair of shoes. She told us later that this woman looked haggard, her kids were running loose in the store and all of them were unkempt. It was the middle of an Ottawa winter and she was buying her kids new boots in an already discounted shoe store. She could tell the woman didn’t have much money. My sister only charged her for one pair so it didn’t look suspicious, and snuck in the other pair as a ‘treat’. The woman was shocked by her generosity. That night Elizabeth came home with a big smile on her face, “well, all I have to say is tonight I did my part in paying it forward.”
In a way, I guess this blog is all about that. It went from being a place that got me through the darkest time of my life, to hopefully becoming a beacon of hope to others. It might not be as tangible as a pair of shoes or cooking a stranger a nice meal, but it’s my own virtual way of paying it forward.