Tammy Art Therapy - March 24, 2015

When her mother died from complications following the birth of her sister, Tammy spent nine months living with her Grandma. After that, she moved in with her father, who she’d only seen sporadically before mom had died.

Her Carson Art Therapist, Samantha, has been working with Tammy since the day of the funeral. It’s been two years exactly since her mother’s death. They were decorating a box that they called “Grandma’s house” with drawings of little birds when, for the first time, Tammy spoke directly about her mother.

“Grandma says Mommy is in heaven.”


Tammy stopped drawing the birds. She picked up her childsafe scissors and rapidly stabbed twelve holes in the top of the box of Grandma’s house. She stopped stabbing. Her lip began to tremble. She looked at her therapist Samantha and cried out in a jagged voice filled with holes, “Heaven is so high up! What if Mommy falls down?”

“Oh, Tammy. No one knows for sure exactly what heaven is like, but I do know that heaven is a safe place and that your Mommy isn’t in danger,” said Samantha, offering Tammy her the comfort blanket they keep for times that require a great enveloping softness.

Tammy lay, wrapped in her blanket and cried for awhile. Finally, she said, “Mommy is safe.”

“Yes,” Samantha agreed.

Tammy took the Grandma’s house-box, lifted the lid and held it up. The light shone through the holes. “Now everyone can breathe,” said Tammy.

Samantha took a deep breath. “Yes, everyone can breathe.” Tammy sighed, stretched herself out towards the box and began again to draw her birds.

By JAC Patrissi