I’m donating a portion of all sales to benefit the cause of veteran’s mental health.
We were going to be parents.
It was an announcement we’d been waiting to make, and it was during Christmas 2019 that finally we told our family we were expecting our first baby.
For 27 years, my father proudly served in the Marines, Army, and Air Force. He’d been in Vietnam and Afghanistan and helped in NYC after the 9/11 attacks. Looking back, these experiences undoubtedly affected his mental health, keeping him from living life to the fullest.
He was a good man who loved his family and his country, but, as he told me before he passed he “had his demons”. This is what would eventually take its toll.
My father’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis came in February 2020, and seemingly overnight, I went from dreaming about the memories my son would make with his grandfather to worrying they’d never have the chance to meet.
One month later, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, which led to working my digital marketing position from home. Despite being a difficult time, this change allowed me to balance my “new normal” of preparing for parenthood with visiting my dad and navigating the emotions that accompanied his illness.
Our son was born in July 2020, and thanks to family leave, I only had to work three days a week. This limited schedule left me plenty of time to spend with our newborn, who, day after day, continued to change my life as he filled my heart with more love than ever.
Despite everything happening around me, life took another turn when my dad passed away on March 30th, 2021.
I left my job to become a stay-at-home parent that June. After squeezing in freelance web design work during naps, the burnout I experienced led to producing expressive abstract pieces that completely changed my approach to artmaking.
It was creative, freeing, and made my art feel new again.
Throughout 2020, I knew I needed to work out everything going on in my mind as my situation continued to change and develop. Therapy had become an incredible tool that helped facilitate a journey of self-discovery and growth I never knew was possible.
With more resources becoming available, mental health care is at the forefront of our society. By donating a portion of all art sales to Give an Hour, I hope to do my part in advocating for and helping to provide these essential services to our valued military members and their families.
Learn more about Give an Hour’s mission here: https://giveanhour.org