Wall of Silence: an artistic expression about living with estrangement

parents of estranged adults

Quilt, copyright: S. Small Proudfoot

This beautiful quilt is an artistic expression about the powerlessness many parents of estranged adult children feel. The quilt itself is gorgeous—-and reveals the lovely soul of a mother who has been hurt, but who has also triumphed. Sharing the quilt here is a way for the artist to help bring attention to the growing trend of adult children who sever ties from caring families. As she said to me this morning, “I hope you are able to continue making strides for a more informed society about this issue of estrangement from family and children.”

Through October 16, the quilt is on display with others at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California.

What an inspiration Ms. Proudfoot is to other hurting parents whose adult children have cut them off. Read the artist’s statement below, and enjoy some close-ups of different areas of this inspiring piece of art:

quilt-wall-of-silence-4-the-skin-horseTITLE:  WAll of SILENCE” Dedicated to all parents of Estranged Adult Children. The grief felt by parents whose adult children chose to terminate parental relationships leaves nothing but everlasting quilt-wall-of-silence-5-the-velveteen-rabbitheartbreak and sadness.  Margery Williams book, The Velveteen Rabbit, is used as a metaphor for this quilt.  Rabbit, rejected by his beloved child, asks Skin Horse “when a child loves you for a long, long time, does it hurt?”  Always truthful, Skin Horse replies “sometimes”.  From the darkness of despair to the serenity of acceptance, a heart once broken never mends, not to the shape it once was.
quilt-wall-of-silence-2-puppet

Wall of Silence: (c) 2016 Sandra Small Proudfoot, AOCA ’89, Mono, Ont., in collaboration with long-arm quilter, Mary Light, Temiskaming Shores, Ont. Canada

Floral Inspiration:    Artist Carrie Schmitt “She Lived Her Life in Full Bloom”

Can creativity help you heal?

In my book, I shared the stories of many who have healed through art in all its forms—-gardening, cooking, knitting, writing, and more. Formal art therapy works—but people have long turned to creative pursuits on their own as a means to work through troubling times and come away stronger.

Maintaining this website, and writing my book to help parents of estranged adult children has been part of my creative healing process. How have you used creative works to manage and heal from your pain? And if you haven’t yet, what might you get started on today that can help you express yourself and heal. Remember, not all creativity is expressed in traditional art forms either. Creativity can be a facet of many activities.

I hope you will leave a comment appreciating the artistry of Ms. Proudfoot’s quilt shared here, as well as share your own creative ideas that help you to heal.

 

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7 thoughts on “Wall of Silence: an artistic expression about living with estrangement

  1. JANET L.

    AFTER LOSING MY FIRST DAUGHTER, ONE OF FOUR, TO A HEROIN DEATH, I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD BE ABLE TO BREATHE AGAIN. THIS AFFECTED HER 4 SIBLINGS AND NIECES & NEPHEWS. I HAD A LOSS IN 2019 AFTER 25 YEARS, AND NOW MY DAUGHTER WHO WAS CLOSE TO HER SISTER WHO PASSED, THIRD CHILD (OF 5) HAS DECIDED NOT TO TALK, TEXT, VISIT OR SOCIALIZE. I WENT TO SEE HER THIRD DAUGHTER FOR HER PROM & SEE HOW PRETTY SHE LOOKED, AND THE VISIT WAS UNFRIENDLY. I TOOK PICTURES AND SOMEHOW I THOUGHT IT WAS MY IMAGINATION WITH US ALL BEING BUSY. BUT I WAS HURT TODAY, AGAIN, AS I SUGGESTED WE GET TOGETHER FOR HER BIRTHDAY JULY 7TH, 2021. EXCUSES MADE WITH NO COMMITMENT, STATING THE GIRLS WERE PLANNING SOMETHING. NOW I AM LOSING MY GRAND-DAUGHTERS (3) 16, 19, AND 26, BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW ENOUGH TO RIDE DOWN TO VISIT WITH ME. I BABYSAT ALL FOUR THROUGHOUT 26 YRS. SHE IS ALSO IN A VERBAL DISCUSSION WITH HER YOUNGER SISTER, THE FOUTH GIRL. COMPLAINTS OF BEING A MIDDLE CHILD, WITH OTHER ISSUES. SHE REFUSES TO TALK TO HER SISTER UNLESS SHE APOLOGIZES BECAUSE THIS SISTER IS MORE OUTSPOKEN. I WAS DOING GOOD UNTIL I HEARD HER VOICE, WHICH IS SO SWEET, AND THEN THE SILENCE & NO COMMUNICATION FOR WEEKS, ON & OFF SINCE CHRISTMAS 2020. SHE HAS ALSO PUSHED HER BROTHER AWAY WITH HER ANSWERS. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CLOSE & HELPFUL.

    Reply
    1. Free2B

      My son passed away from alcoholism at age 44 on May 15, 2020. Due to Covid, there was no service. My remaining 2 adult children & their families have not reached out to me in any form. I have not seen them since November 2019.
      Today, my 17yo grandson totally ghosted me for our lunch date. His original response to my invite was “definitely “. Then nothing, including a no show.
      The rejection has extended to the next generation.
      I am in deep mourning for the loss of my deceased son and the living ones who clearly want nothing to do with me.
      Occasionally they will text me a picture. I can’t make sense of that. Is it malice or something else? I’m so devastated

  2. Barbara V.

    I love these creative quilts and the meanings shared with them.. I myself have started painting and it does take my mind off my older sons estrangement. It has been nearly two years since my son has contacted me. Even during the pandemic he never reached out to see how my husband and I were doing. He recently had a baby and my wounds opened again. I never thought this would happen to me. I come from a very close family and for me this was so unexpected. My two sons never saw eye to eye. They saw life from different lenses. The differences between my sons started the estrangement. Now my older son removed himself from the whole family, including his younger brother and sister. thank you for sharing this inspiring art work.

    Reply
  3. Becky

    I love this quilt and the story of the Velveteen Rabbit. It certainly brought tears to my eyes as a parent of an estranged daughter. Personally, I do a lot of crochet work, some being for preemies in the NICU. It is very rewarding for me knowing I am helping others in some small way.

    Reply
    1. Maria G.

      Hi Becky,

      The sharing of your art and yourself is heartwarming. I know it doesn’t fill the hole your estrangement created, but the service of others always is a rewarding way of redirecting energy. It never fails to yield more in return than what we give!

      God Bless You.

      Maria

  4. Barbara B.

    Do you know if Ms. Proudfoot has considered making this into a print to frame. I would love to have this as a display in my home.

    Reply
    1. S. S. P.

      Yes, Barbara I can make this into a print poster. If you let me know the size I can communicate with you through Sheri the moderator and it can be ordered, paid to her, she’ll pass it forward I know…I’ve spoken to my print shop in town. S. Small Proudfoot.

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