If there is such a thing as vicarious pain, that is what I felt at different times while making the grandmothers. It went beyond compassion fatigue. Whenever the grief would overwhelm me, I would stop the construction and do something to put me in a better head and heart space. Most of the time that meant I went to “Mother Nature” and allowed myself to draw strength from her.

I suppose it’s not so odd that my feelings were, at times, raw; as I firmly believe in Ubuntu, which translates to, I am because we are. Simply put, we belong to each other. We are humankind. The fact that I was working on something for the express purpose of healing the trauma of separating children from their mothers was easy for me to identify with.

However, the reason I took a break during those times was not simply to alleviate my stress level. It was important to me that the environment the grandmothers were made in was as positive and hopeful and nurturing as it could be. The subtle things mattered, and I consciously worked with them during the creative process. Although there were quiet times while I worked, most of the time I played podcasts of strong women; or specially selected music, sometimes meditative, but at other times anthems of empowerment. Healing oils were also diffused in the air, and near completion I actually moved each grandmother to our living room where she could absorb a happy home.

The grandmothers needed to represent the essential qualities of a caring and wise person, but it was important that they resembled no one person. To this end, there was tedious redrawing and testing patterns for better proportions; adding that saggy skin at the elbow; creating empathetic facial features; and making sure that each component was what it needed to be—a genuine presence to hold the sacred space of healing.

The grandmothers’ hair became a feature of particular importance. Somehow it instilled a dignity and acted as a crown for each individual grandmother. I suppose this makes sense, as the converse, head-shaving, is a common way of dehumanizing another. The time taken for the hairstyles was disproportionately long, but it is something that each person touches in familiarity when they meet a grandmother.

For more information, please see – https://www.grandmotherhealingdolls.com

If you would like to help, there is a Kickstarter here – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/grandmothers/grandmother-healing-dolls-compassionate-creative-a?ref=user_menu Thank you!

#FamiliesBelongTogether #LoveThyNeighor (NoExceptions) #Peace #StandWithImmigrants #LovingKindness #LoveKnowsNoBorders #AJustWorld4All #GrandmotherHealingDolls #PeaceLoveUnderstanding

Share your thoughts in meaningful dialogue –

(Please do not comment here, instead use these posts as opportunities for respectful communication directly with someone you know. Here’s an idea…how about talking with someone who disagrees with you on this or other issues?)

Review the definition of Ubuntu. Do you believe in the concept—why or why not?

What’s the big deal with hair? (The musical or just in general ?) Share your perspective.

Grab your “saggy elbow skin” with your opposite hand and wiggle it. (This is a common thing for babies and children to play with while being cuddled.) Does this simple act bring up any fond memories? If so, please share.

When asylum-seeking parents and children were separated and put in detention centers; compassionate, creative action was needed & Grandmother Healing Dolls was born. Follow the journey of their creation and the 3000 mile trip to three detention centers, courthouses, and more on this Thrive Global series.