The Anarchy of Grief

2020 was a rough year for so many. Myself included. I lost my Dad in May of 2020. Then just four months later, in September, I lost my best friend. I don’t share this to elicit sympathy. I share it because grief touches everyone in some way or another and I’m interested in the connectedness of this rite of passage we all become acquainted with.

Grief is an ongoing process that ebbs and flows in strange and unexpected ways. At least that’s been my experience. Grief changes you. It’s a kind of revolution in your life, turning everything upside down. The loss of two of my most important people, has been life altering in so many ways, its hard to describe. So, I step into the ethereal realm of my artwork to capture them, or some essence of them. It seems impossible to wrangle the entirety of the dense, rich, full lifetimes of these two beloveds, my Dad and Kellie.

A watercolor I painted of my Dad, Hank Rippert, with his 1951 MG TD8888 in 1986.


The transformation has been unnerving. It’s as if I have walked through some dark and ominous forest, full of frightening creatures and sounds that elicit trembling, and out into an entirely different realm. It’s disorienting and unfamiliar in this new terrain, but there is a deep sense of trusting my own feet on the ground that wasn’t present before. The path I am walking seems to reveal itself to me and there is a knowing of what next step is right. Knowing, with every fiber of my being, how to navigate the landscape. Those sounds of the forest still come at night, but they don’t frighten me so much anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, the grief isn’t ‘over’ and I don’t know that it really ever will be. It arises when it does, and when I allow it and don’t resist, it moves through me.

One of many ‘altars’ in my home. Glamour Shot of Me & Kellie Ricks 1993 and one of my favorite photos of Dad and me at Lenny’s in Clearwater.

I want to make them proud. And I know they are proud when I’m being completely true to who I am. So that’s the journey I’m on. The journey of my own heart. The journey of being proud of who I am and fully being me. That’s what I’m up to. Join me and share the ride.


An acrylic painting I did of my best friend, Kellie Ricks.


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