Two weeks ago (roughly) I turned 28 years old.

Four days ago, I lost my mother.

To say the latter of these events was a tragedy does not even come close to describing it.

My mother was the strongest woman I know. I even have a sneaking suspicion that she was the strongest woman on the planet. When I was young, she encountered a slew of health problems. Her doctors gave her only months to live. She defied them and carried on for years and years after.

Her illness dogged her, however, and in the last year she became a shell of herself physically, though her mental state was as sharp as ever.

In the end, time and illness were too much for her and she went the way of all great women – peacefully into the arms of legend.

It has only been four days and I am still struggling to make sense of it all. It feels as though I am living underwater; as if I am in some strange and surreal reality.

But as was always her way, my mother left me with a gift.

My creativity and courage have blossomed again in unimaginable ways in the last few days since her passing. I have found myself consoled by words and transported for a moment from bleak, mother-less reality.

I find myself returning to my short stories or thinking on plot lines and edits for all my waiting manuscripts. I find myself thinking up new characters and thinking of deep and brilliant dialogue. I’ve started dreaming up adventurous business ideas, and throwing myself in the way of job opportunities I would have shunned from fear only two weeks ago. My creativity and my courage have found me again, and in them I am finding some type of solace and protection from the mean truth that is the death of my mother.

So that’s the point of this whole spiel, really.

Tragedy and grief have a strange way of reuniting us with our creativity. In our creative pursuits – be they writing or drawing, painting or photography – have a way of delivering us from our pain and reigniting something within ourselves that allows us to survive. Not only survive…flourish.

So if you too are in the grips of tragedy, leave the door open for your creative spark. Chase those creative pursuits which you think would put your heart at rest. Do that jigsaw puzzle, doodle, sketch, write, paint. Whatever it is, allow it to embrace you and comfort you through your tragedy.

You just might be surprised by the masterpiece you find on the other side.

Thank you, mom.