Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 44: June 22, 2012

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Today’s journal spans poignant time. My father, Roar Thorsen, was unwinding and had just a few months left to live. We shared a deep friendship. We were working hard on our book…

The birthday card, 1942.

A family treasure:   Birthday card sent to my father in Sarpsborg, Norway, from my grandfather, Gunnar Thorsen, and fellow Norwegian soldiers (in German concentration camp) for my father’s 12th birthday Aug 8, 1942. GUNNAR THORSEN 1897-1970   After graduation from school my Dad decided to join the army.  Thereafter he ended up in the…

Father, daughter, Fenrir, Gleipnir and “Drawn Together”- the book: 6 years later.

Wow.  October 25, 2018 will mark the sixth year since my father passed away.  I am so aware of all the dates in October… so aware that he was winding down. Interestingly, more October connections: on October 12, 2005 (13 years ago), my father drew for the first time after his life threatening stroke (September 21,…

Charming portraits of cats by my father 5 years after his stroke…

Going through my blog and archiving some imagery, I came across these charming drawings by my father– done in 2010, 5 years after a debilitating stroke.

The third letter home. November 18, 1968

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — Previous posts: Package of letters to Sweden A letter home. November 1, 1968 Dream. Letters. Thought and Memory. Writing exercise. The Second Letter. As these translations focus on the letters from my mother to her best…

Dream. Letters. Thought and Memory.

I had a terrible dream last night. In the dream, I haven’t been home to visit my parents for four years.  In the dream, they are still living at the house on Braemar (the one we moved into in 1977, the one before they downsized in 2004).  In the dream, they are both as sick…

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 14: Dying Contemplation

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life Part 2: Practice Dying Part 3: Preparing to Die Part 4: Dying from the Common…

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 13: The Act of Dying

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life Part 2: Practice Dying Part 3: Preparing to Die Part 4: Dying from the Common…

We were drawn together on Saturday- and now I know why…

I love family.  And we have shared so much- all the life markers, the ups and downs of life and through it all there is that special glue that connects us. We had an impromptu get together at my place on Saturday- somehow ALL of us (niece, nephew, brothers, sister in laws, daughter, son, daughter…

“Always, remember, you are the best.” No, you were, Pappa. #toliveuntilwesaygoodbye

My greatest cheerleader was my Dad. 4 years ago today, his heart stopped beating, but his spirit lives on. His pep talks were the best. “Always, remember, you are the best.” No, you were, Pappa.   Our gift to you: Free PDF version of DRAWN TOGETHER, THE BOOK by Roar and Kat Thorsen! LINK

On Autumnal endings and beginnings in October

This is such a beautiful tender time of the year for me.  The autumn is both a time of loss and renewal.  My parents passed in the autumn, yet autumn is a time of new possibilities and fresh starts. Life/ death.  The extremes? Or two sides of the same coin or exactly the same?  For…

‘Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.’ Journaling exercise

Today you are a newborn and you are starting fresh! Draw a baby. Draw brainstorm bubbles above “your “head. Write about what it may be like to start fresh.  Releasing anxiety and hesitancy. Brainstorm central themes in your life.  Just let it happen. Be willing to be a beginner every single morning. – Meister Eckhart…

SOME PORTRAITS OF GRIEF.

For me, it is impossible to quantify grief.  To qualify it.  To define it.  It comes as a surprise. It comes as a wave.  It comes suddenly.  Or it comes on slow.  It can feel like nostalgia, anger, sadness, gratitude, drowning.  It can be triggered.  It can be low grade.  It can be reassuring.  It can…

The timeless/spaceless mid zone of creative process and chatting with the dead…

There is a beautiful part of my creative process that I cherish- the part that allows me to dialogue with my parents as if they are here in my kitchen, sharing coffee and offering advice and dialoguing on the cold case.  I had some magical moments the other day as I pulled out old binders…

Stanley Park. Birds. Angel whispers. And Pledge Drive.

I walked around Beaver Lake today.  I was infused by the profound beauty of nature.  Warm sun.  Blossoms.  Skunk cabbage.  Herons were dancing in the wind above the lake, ducks were courting and playing, chipmunks and squirrels scurrying.  Chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches landed on my hands.  I describe the feeling as angel whispers. I took…

Daisy’s dilemma. 1947 and dark Disney imagery.

My current book project, Molly, is a creative non-fiction tragedy that centres around a suicide in 1947. Suicides were well publicized back then, often featured on the front pages of newspapers. Searching online images “suicide, 1947,” the image that inevitably comes up is the photo titled “the most beautiful suicide“- a haunting and iconic image. But as…

For me, art has no end- there is no end product… A drawing by my father.

I was staying over at my brother and sister-in-law’s place the other day, spending delicious time with my niece and nephew. I went to the downstairs washroom to wash my hands after Halloween costume mayhem… … and came across a drawing my father, Roar Thorsen, had  done in 2011: Oh, how I adore this piece.  It…

A letter to my father, 3 years later, at our favorite table.

Dear Pappa, Sitting at our table at Lions Gate Hospital Cafeteria. — Three years later now… you died on October 25.  How can this be real?  You and Mamma seemingly immortal.  Yet- — I would love to break down- my heart feels too big for my chest cavity.  I want to curl inward. There was…

When grief is like a wave crashing on shore…

I attended an event last night at the Vancouver Public Library. I am so glad I went alone, for not only could I soak in the event itself (as I am passionate about this case), but I could really sit in my personal grief. This was the room I sat in with my Mom as…

Can a dog live forever? In this case, yes.

They always love you. – Alexander McQueen on the joy of having dogs — After my mother passed away November 8, 2008, I inherited my parents’ dog and parrot.  My father was already in residential care.  I LOVE having the pets.  The parrot, ASTERIX, speaks Swedish and belly laughs like my mom.  There is great comfort…

Contemplating death, loss, hope, acceptance…

Release Leap of faith Acceptance Peace Honorary Karin Roar Life rough on the seas Sacrifice Mother father daughter love Death Release Hope Promise Defence Loss Rose Thorn Thorsen Memorial Cycle Allowance Honor New beginnings Immortal Bud Blossom Farewell Dedicated to my mother Karin September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008 and my father Roar August…

A letter home. November 1, 1968

Recall the package of letters I received from my mom and dad’s friends in Sweden.  LINK Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Today I look at the first one… A letter from my mom to Rolf and Eivor dated November 1, 1968.  We moved…

What I learned in 2013: honor your gift.

– Yesterday I posted what I learned about myself in 2013.  I was going to write a long list of words and concepts I embraced in 2013. – – But I stripped it down.  Stripped it down to the bare essence: – So what I truly learned in 2013 is that I have the right,…

The power of art to heal and to build connections: Drawn Together

Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art Roar’s art provided him with a much needed connection to the world. I miss my father so much.  Last night I spent some quiet time watching Swedish films and allowing the feeling of intense loneliness flow through me as I embraced the fact that I…

I miss his pep talks. Roar Thorsen Aug 8, 1930- Oct 25, 2012

A year ago, Dad passed away.  It feels shorter.  It feels longer.  It feels at times overwhelming.  But I am at peace.  Dad left me with is a profound sense of empowerment.  I miss his pep talks though.  He, like nobody else, “got me.”  I am blessed to have inherited his gift of art and…

One year ago, he said “never give up.” I won’t. #drawntogether

Excerpt from DRAWN TOGETHER: — Available at Salmagundi West:

The Waves- Matt Roy’s addition to our COMMUNITY JOURNAL PROJECT! #drawntogether #recycledart

My father and I kept mutual journals and one of our original journals was pulled apart and offered to the community. — I am so excited to be witnessing my Father’s dream project of community journals unfolding.  The latest addition is by Matt Roy: He added a page from Virginia Woolf’s The Waves to create…

“Never forget you are Daddy’s girl.” Drawn Together excerpt series Part 4

 Drawn Together excerpt series Part 4: My father always ended his letters to me with: Truth. Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art Roar’s art provided him with a much needed connection to the world after a devastating stroke. YOU CAN BUY THE BOOK HERE: – NEXT STEP: Workbook/workshop series under development to…

Helena, the film. A script idea by my father. Drawn Together excerpt series Part 3

Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art Roar’s art provided him with a much needed connection to the world after a devastating stroke. My father drew inspiration from many sources.  His newspapers, his readings, his scrapbooks.  Films like Hemsöborna. He not only drew, but wrote and wrote and wrote.  Drawn Together excerpt…

Change comes upon us, not slowly, but suddenly, abruptly. Drawn Together excerpt series Part 2

Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art Roar’s art provided him with a much needed connection to the world after a devastating stroke.  Drawn Together excerpt series Part 2:  Roar’s journal entry: YOU CAN BUY THE BOOK HERE: – NEXT STEP: Workbook/workshop series under development to accompany the book. MISSION STATEMENT To…

“… just two people, riding the waves of life.” Drawn Together excerpt series Part 1

Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art Roar’s art provided him with a much needed connection to the world after a devastating stroke.  Drawn Together excerpt series Part 1: She could not tear herself away from the old man.  She clung to him and wiped her eyes on her apron, her manner…

“Leaving behind in autumn’s advent…” My father’s last tax filings.

I filed my father’s taxes and submitted his will.  All is done.  All is wrapped up regarding both my mother and father’s paperwork.  How very strange. There was no probate as my father died with no savings, no life insurance, no assets… but I am left massively rich, with a full heart and peaceful soul.  Their…

DOCUMENTARY: Drawn Together- Roar Thorsen’s Recovery through Art

Thanks to my backers on our Indiegogo campaign, Drawn Together, I was able to fund the making of the documentary short, Drawn Together: Roar Thorsen’s Recovery through Art, directed, edited and filmed by Julian Bowers.  And I am honored to have original music created by J. Lastoria and Julian Bowers, members of the band, Sleuth….

Jennifer of @SketchChange’s genius addition to our COMMUNITY JOURNAL PROJECT! #drawntogether #recycledart

Our original journal was pulled apart to offer to the community. — I am so excited to be witnessing my Father’s dream project of community journals unfolding.  Take a look at what my dear friend Jennifer did!!! — Jennifer Lyons pulling apart the journal and choosing her pages! Take note of the spiral binding from the…

Edwyn Collins Home Again: reawakening empowerment after a stroke with #art #music

Edwyn Collin’s journey after his stroke reminds of my father‘s. — Check out Edwyn’s post-stroke drawings: — DRAWN TOGETHER: MAINTAINING CONNECTIONS AND NAVIGATING LIFE’S CHALLENGES WITH ART ADD TO THE JOURNAL PAGES AND BE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY JOURNAL PROJECT!  Join now on ETSY: Sign up for $30! YOUR PURCHASE INCLUDES TWO ORIGINAL HAND-MADE DOUBLE-SIDED THERAPEUTIC…

ADD TO THE JOURNAL PAGES AND BE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY JOURNAL PROJECT! #drawntogether

ADD TO THE JOURNAL PAGES AND BE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY JOURNAL PROJECT!  Join now on ETSY: Sign up for $30! YOUR PURCHASE INCLUDES TWO ORIGINAL HAND-MADE DOUBLE-SIDED THERAPEUTIC JOURNAL PAGES CREATED BY MY FATHER AND I. YOU ALSO RECEIVE OUR BOOK, “DRAWN TOGETHER: MAINTAINING CONNECTIONS AND NAVIGATING LIFE’S CHALLENGES WITH ART.” Click on image…

Can a dog live forever? In this case, yes.

They always love you. – Alexander McQueen on the joy of having dogs — After my mother passed away November 8, 2008, I inherited my parents’ dog and parrot.  My father was already in residential care.  I LOVE having the pets.  The parrot, ASTERIX, speaks Swedish and belly laughs like my mom.  There is great…

With love and gratitude in my heart and soul, I say thank you to my parents…

With love and gratitude in my heart and soul, I say thank you to my parents and hello to our mutual dreams. Missing them feels similar to claustrophobia sometimes.  But the missing is infused with deep gratitude for the childhood and camaraderie they gave me. In 2012, my father knew, before he died, that we…

The darkening cathedral: processing the emotion of missing. #grief #saudade #journalexercise

I feel myself intertwined in the confusion of grief again.  It’s caught up to me and it wants to attach itself to my muddled brain as I try to sift and mindmap my next steps and make necessary changes to achieve emotional and financial balance in my life.  So as I am prone to do,…

My Dad’s #journal recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Rm 207. #residentialcare. PART 4

Found journal.  Roar Thorsen recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Room 207 and the halls of a residential care facility. 2007-2008 Roar had a debilitating stroke on September 2005. On February 14, 2007, he moved into room 207. See  PART 1 PART 2 PART 3 — PART 4: [My father loved driving.  LOVED it….

My Dad’s #journal recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Rm 207. #residentialcare. PART 3

Found journal.  Roar Thorsen recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Room 207 and the halls of a residential care facility. 2007-2008 Roar had a debilitating stroke on September 2005. On February 14, 2007, he moved into room 207. See  PART 1 PART 2 — PART 3: My life has changed completely since it took…

My Dad’s #journal recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Rm 207. #residentialcare. PART 2

Found journal.  Roar Thorsen recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Room 207 and the halls of a residential care facility. 2007-2008 Roar had a debilitating stroke on September 2005. On February 14, 2007, he moved into room 207. See PART 1 — PART 2: Next candidate for room.  He is wearing the green scrub uniform…

My Dad’s #journal recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Rm 207. #residentialcare. PART 1

Found journal.  Roar Thorsen recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Room 207 and the halls of a residential care facility. 2007-2008 My father passed away in Room 207 on October 25, 2012 at approximately 9 PM. To share this journal is incredibly healing for me, for as I type it, I feel I am…

These days when I dream of Dad, he is walking. #drawntogether #fatherdaughter

These days when I dream of Dad, he is walking. I also feel peaceful and protected.  It feels very much like: I find myself mesmerized when I drive by sites of beauty and sentimentality.  Yesterday afternoon, the trees glistened in the sun as I drove west on Hastings in Burnaby.  Wet with raindrops, they were…

Grandpa’s card from the concentration camp. #remember

I repost this annually.  I feel blessed that our family has this treasure.   Birthday card to my dad from my grandpa, Gunnar Thorsen, and fellow Norwegian soldiers (in German concentration camp) Aug 8, 1942. GUNNAR THORSEN 1897-1970   After graduation from school my Dad decided to join the army.  Thereafter he ended up in…

I miss the mundane to-do lists from my Dad. I miss the supply run. The putter of routine.

From Drawn Together: My every-second-day visits are full and busy.  Fold the laundry, pack the clean cutlery and Tupperware into the cart, add the clean laundry to the pile, shove in the old envelopes, check if Roar needs any printouts, pack up the car with the dog and computer and journal and purse and sock…

Saudade: the emotion of missing. #grief

Saudade is a unique Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English.  Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.  It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.  It’s related to the feelings of longing, yearning.   Saudade is the…

A pencil box. Regarded with reverence.

UPDATE!  OUR BOOK IS READY! Go to: DRAWN TOGETHER — My father’s last pencil box.  It will remain untouched.  It contains his favorite drawing tools like the black pencil crayon and his instant coffee spoon and his rolled up hand towel that he used to brush eraser bits away. I went into Staples today and…

Dad’s last day. #livinguntilwesaygoodbye

In keeping with Dad’s wishes, I documented our last day together. I came up early in the morning yesterday and spent some hours by myself with Dad before the rest of the family arrived for our daily vigil. I set up the space  I had an intense need to offer some kind of guidance for…

Dad’s inner work… leaving one’s ‘self’ to enter nakedly with no agenda. #livinguntilwesaygoodbye

Dad is working.  I can tell.  Deep internal work.  Letting go of his physical body.   I haven’t seen his eyes today. They remain closed as he concentrates.  His color good.  He’s a strong motherfucker. We, the family, continue to putter around. Simply being a loving presence near the person, holding their hand, sending loving…

We’ve become a band of gypsies. #livinguntilwesaygoodbye

VIGIL: a purposeful watch maintained, esp at night, to guard, observe, pray, etc. Recall: Document it.  All of it. We remain at Dad’s bedside.  Today was a peaceful day for him.  His medication was increased so he is not in as much pain as yesterday.  Only when he is moved.  Other than that, he sleeps soundly…

“Document it. All of it.” – Roar Thorsen #livinguntilwesaygoodbye

My Dad is a consummate documentarian.  This has always been part of his artistic expression.  His photo albums, since his teenage years, are detailed accounts of his life and adventures. I promised him to keep taking photos during this final chapter.  Dad is winding down now.  Dad’s breathing continues, slow, deep, intermittent.  He is surrounded…

Father and daughter journals. #artheals

I am delighted to be collaborating with Julie and Greg Salisbury of Influence Publishing in bringing Drawn Together to fruition! — I went to the storage room and pulled out some of the journals Dad and I shared from 2002-2005.  They are quite magical and they carried us through those tough years as I was…

Gratitude and other scenes from the ER. #DrawnTogether

Thanks to our backers and all our supporters for helping our Indiegogo campaign, Drawn Together!   WE REACHED OUR GOAL! On Sunday, Dad got a chance to watch the documentary his grandson, Julian, made.  He was very moved. — Unfortunately, Dad’s health has taken a turn for the worse as he battles bladder cancer.  We…

A legacy for the next generation. #DrawnTogether #strokerecovery #artheals

Our book is about art and a father/daughter story, but it is also a legacy that we are creating for Dad’s grandchildren- Anna (27), Julian (24) and little Henrik, who turns 1 next week and whose middle name is “Roar.” WE NEED HELP TO BRING THE BOOK TO THE NEXT STAGE! Please consider supporting our project.  Much love,…

Scenes from Level 2 #DrawnTogether #strokerecovery #artheals

My father draws inspiration from books, television, newspapers, his life… including residential care. Excerpt from Drawn Together: Dad, how do you stay connected? ART.  A shot of whiskey.  A cup of black coffee.  My pens and my paper.  TV on in the background.  A view of Grouse Mountain.  That’s all I need.   I have…

My father makes an impact. #connections #DrawnTogether #strokerecovery #artheals

Some comments we’ve received regarding DRAWN TOGETHER: “My grandma is suffering from early Alzheimers. I write her letters and she writes back. Her letters end up being so poetic because she repeats herself a lot. I’ve been transcribing them as poetry. Might send them to some Lit mags. I think we forget the huge cache…

With new technology, #DrawnTogether will be a full-color paperback! #strokerecovery #artheals

In our original planning stages with Influence Publishing we were considering the idea of producing a. an affordable black and white version and b. a full color expensive coffee table book. This seemed the only option but I worried about not being able to present the art in full color to a wider audience. Influence…

Legacy. What does that mean to you? #journal #arttherapy

I put out the following question the other day: Q: What does the word “legacy” mean to you?  The responses were thoughtful and beautiful: Creating something that will outlive you. A permanent mark. A lasting impression. – Peter B. Creating something that can definitely withstand the test of time. – Evelyn W. Epic love. – Lindsey…

Sometimes you just have to laugh!. #drawntogether #artheals

As you know by now, Dad and I have been working on our book for several years and it looks like it will be released in November!  I had a great meeting with Influence Publishing on Monday night and excitedly ran to Dad on Tuesday to let him know the latest news! Dad, I have…