Dear illness,

Last night I dreamt in a revolution of colours; Yellow sunflowers reaching for the sky.

Today, as I rolled over to the dark rising, I remember you thought, “I can’t do another day of this apathetic pain”, yet here we are!

This morning, as I placed paper on my desk, memories surfaced of innocent warm sheets in the springtime breeze. I sat back sipping coffee and chatting with my darling granddaughter. She’s wondrous and loves to paint like us. She is blunt, beautiful and says everything on her mind.

Mornings with her in my studio, I know dreams do come true, even if you have to feel your way through the dark to get to the light of them.

There are parts of you I wish she could have met, but that’s for another day, another letter. For now, she will only know of a Nana, that has always painted and smiles ten miles wide at her.

Today after she left, I took out those “one day” colours to fill the blank page with sunflowers in hues of yellow.

I remember, Yellow made you sad because someone said it wasn’t your colour, but in your sick brain you thought “happiness isn’t meant for me”.

And Sunflowers made your stomach sink, because you attached them to Van Gogh, rotting minds and death. You saw your own struggle and the constant, “Please, don’t let me succumb to that fate.”

Anytime you received a gift of yellow or sunflowers, your stomach would anxiously flutter. You’d smile but think, “how could they be so insensitive to remind me I’m failing”?

But how could anyone know that about you, when you kept so much inside?

I know how hard you worked not attaching meaning to things, to places. I remember you standing furious in your panic, hand on your heart to know you were still alive.

In your mind you repeated, “I will fight this, I am here, I am ok,” until you could breathe again. You did this over and over until you broke the cycle.

Thank you for your bravery… thank you for trying every single day, even when you thought you weren’t.

I continue your work now, illness; giving meaning, power to myself and the surrounding good. I have been making wonderful memories in all the places that held your sorrow… like yellow and sunflowers!

So today, my dear, as those sunflowers valiantly bloomed onto the page, I saw a woman unwilling to give up or give in to generational woes. A woman who teaches her children and granddaughter what it means to battle the past, to win peace of mind.

Now those colours, the sunflowers, this room, my people and in myself…. I feel at home.

Who now is standing strong, wild and free… ish.

Who can sleep at night, knowing she’s doing well but will always wake to “I can do better”.

I see beauty in this world now, illness, as I sit in my yellow sweater, grinning with sheer determination of a new day.

Love always,