Coloring Salvation: Child of the Sun

I picked up coloring as something to enjoy with my son while he builds Legos.
Some say it’s not therapy but the mind drifts when hands shift and here’s what I’ve been thinking:


Blue, 2016

The coffee splatter on top was unintentional but it’s a fitting salutation.

I started with yellow because my first memory of you is your golden hair highlighted by a beam of sunshine.  You know this as I like to tell the story of when we first met.  You were sitting on that bench outside your cottage.  You were reading, probably Agatha Christie or Ian Fleming.  You were what, twelve to my thirteen?  You appeared otherworldly that summer day.

The blues were easy because of your eyes.  Not everything has to be difficult, not now.

I brought the center back to yellow for symmetry.  I have known you for more than thirty years and you have taught me about dedication, self-preservation and mindfulness.  You once told me to lie on my left side when my stomach is hurting.  I still do that.  You were charting your basal body temperature while I still was on the pill and smoking cigarettes.  You practiced yoga on your own.  You showed me how satisfying a slice of spelt toast could taste.  Now I understand why you were so comfortable and I was so miserable in Guatemala – you were healthy and I was fat (and probably smoking cigarettes).  You were the first single woman I knew who bought her own home and saved her damn money.  You are an elite runner.  You became a lawyer in your thirties.  I think the world is a better place because you are in it, leading by example.

Ellen, the effect you’ve had upon me can only be a shadow of the role you played in your niece, Olivia’s life.  It’s not hard to imagine the heights she would have reached had she been given the chance.  When someone is lost at such a young age her potential feels infinite, transcendental.  I believe all that she would become is still with you and is as real as every minute the two of you shared together.

  The loss you and your family are suffering is incomprehensible and I am so very sorry for it.  I hold you in my heart and in my thoughts.



“Olivia Erhardt was in Honduras with others from Columbia University volunteering for Global Brigades, an international organization that provides medical care and other support to struggling populations. She was en route to the airport to go home when the bus they were on crashed, killing her and two others on Jan. 13.” –


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