In the midst of all of the struggle and pain in this last year, our family experienced a lot of joy. I think that would likely be one of the most surprising aspects of our family life to one outside looking in.
Joel’s illness often tethered us to our home for long stretches of time. While I went to work, Amy would often spend many consecutive days driving more than an hour each way to Denver and back from Children’s Hospital; spending most of each day with Joel and one or more of our children in a tiny treatment room while Joel received chemo or waited for tests.
So when we received good news or had breaks in treatment, we loved to take long road trips as a family.
One of the longer trips we took lasted two weeks and took us from Colorado to Washington, down the Coast of California to San Diego and back through Arizona. I will always treasure our road trips, eating pizza in swim trunks at the local hotel; all six of us sleeping in a room with narrow; hard beds; driving for hours at a time through redwood forests and snowy mountain roads in van that smelled of 4 very messy boys, their toys and fast food wrappers, and dance parties.
One of the other blessings that has been mixed into my life is the ability to support my family and the cost of treatment through work on “That Dragon Cancer” as a full time job. When I started this project with Josh, I had plenty of code experience, but very limited 3d artistic ability.
As you see from this picture, the uncanny valley is very real, and I was slipping from the ledge. Over the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of throwing myself fully into work as an artist for the first time. Working with Josh and Nat and Ryan, and learning and experimenting, writing and drawing and sharing our story with the world has been tremendously fulfilling.
And I’m grateful, that even though my skill does not yet match my taste, that we have the opportunity to honor Joel through this project, as well as the time and resources to create something beautiful and that gets more beautiful the longer we work on it. This is especially vital to me now as we grieve; having the chance to throw all of my ability, and love, into work that matters to me has never been more important to my health and the health of my family.
I hope that this post encourages you, first that choosing work that matters too much to let yourself fail and choosing to go after it even when your skill doesn’t match your taste, is work worth completing.
This isn’t just my art, this is our art, and I think that is an important distinction.
It’s built on the experiences we choose to share together, and the beauty we choose to make together.
Create with each other, Learn from each other, Love one another. It’s worth it.