In college my grandfather passed away unexpectedly, and it was a pivotal point in my life where I was exposed to something that all of us will inevitable experience. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a dark post about death, but it’s important to talk about because without that we can’t truly appreciate life. My grandfather was an architect, teacher, sailor and artist among other things. He painted in his free time and it was something that I didn’t truly appreciate until he was gone. He enjoyed good design and built their large dream home in the woods, very Frank Lloyd wright inspired, filled with Eames furniture and art. It’s a secret goal of mine to buy it back someday because there is so much of my grandparents in it. I’m still working toward winning the lottery to do this. He was a man with an incredible sense of humor and was always cracking jokes. When I was in elementary school he would pretend to put bricks on my head to keep me from growing too much. I knew that beneath the humor were stories buried deep inside that I truly wanted to learn and hear. Stories of the war, and what made him passionate, his opinions on this or that or what made him feel deeply. At each family get together I would try my hand at pulling away the curtains to understand what was underneath his humor until one day it was too late and he was just gone. He was the closest person to me that had passed away at that time and it took my brain awhile to understand what that meant. I still don’t actually. None of us do, if we’re honest with ourselves, I think, and that becomes ok. It’s the natural rhythm of life and in those times the choice we do get to make is how to remember them and how to live better ourselves. I couldn’t put words to how it felt that he was gone until a book I was reading spelled it out so simply and perfectly. There’s an African proverb that says “When and old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” That was exactly how I felt! To this day, the most precious things I possess are a few of his paintings. The art that he created will never be replicated. Each of us have a unique artistic language that we create like no one else. We each have different experiences, and talents, preferences that play a part in how we view the world and therefore how we create. Even those of you who don’t think you’re “good” at it can do it and guess what, it’s uniquely yours. Art is the DNA of a person and no two people’s DNA is the same. Sometimes that baffles my mind that there are so many different types of people yet we’re not all that different from each other. There’s been a lot of heartache in the world lately and I think we sometimes need to re evaluate the perspective that we’re not just American’s, or Seattleites, or Washingtonians. We’re humans first, and it’s so important to respect that it’s the differences in our DNA that create the most beautiful, artful masterpieces because if we all created mostly the same thing life would be boring. You could put a handful of painters or photographers, or whatever medium of art in front of a beautiful setting and they would all paint or photograph it differently and that is what makes life so precious. I’ll leave it there but wanted to include a couple art pieces from my grandfather (p.s. I apologize for the less than perfect iphone quality…they are too large for my scanner). Go create something!