Thursday, August 21, 2014


You might not believe this about me, but I'm actually not that sentimental about many physical objects.
In particular, I don't have bags and bags of my kids' artwork or schoolwork.
I look at it, and I ooh and aah. I will often take pictures of the artwork to save "for posterity."
I learned early on that with a whole bunch of kids and a small house....I could easily be overrun!

So I strung up some clothesline in my kitchen and basement stairwell. A few clothespins, and voila, an art gallery. I try to cull it down, especially at the beginning of a new school year, to make room for new art. I record the pieces with pictures, and ask the kids if they want to keep any of them. They usually say no.

Over the years, I can't imagine how many of Sam's pieces of artwork I have thrown out.
Would I have done so if I had known? Would I have saved every scrap?

There's quite a bit of Sammy's artwork still hanging up. Kindergarten work, and some of his later art from the hospital.

You often read about famous writers or composers who leave behind an unfinished novel that's published as a short story, or a symphony that's found in a drawer and presented in a memorial concert. We're not going to find that. He was eight years old. Very little happened that we didn't know about (no secret novels or diaries for this little guy). After he died, I flipped through seemingly-blank notebooks, hoping that maybe I'd find one more pencil doodle on a random page at the back. But for the most part, what I have is what I have.

I took down nearly all of the artwork from the other kids from the past year. But I left Sam's. I'm probably going to eventually frame some of it, to protect and keep it safe.

I'm so immensely sad that I won't ever have any more of it.

I won't ever see the artist he could have become.
I won't ever read the stories he could have written.
I won't ever hear the songs he would have sung.

So much beautiful art that will never be made.
The art of living....
Art from September, 2012 -- a "classic" Sam Sommer
during BMT, body art! (oh, and note the hair art too)
I love these prints that he made. I have them all...
It's been 250 days since his last breath.
A year ago today Sam was prepping for BMT
Two years ago today, Sam was striking a pose. (Also this week, two years ago, he started first grade.)


  1. 250 days; how can that be?

    We have clothesline strung along our downstairs hallway which is full of preschool art. Even with only one child I sometimes feel we are drowning in drawings and paintings and collages!

    Sam's art is beautiful. Those prints, my goodness. Frame them, for sure.

    The art of living -- from what you recorded here, it seems clear that he was a master at that art, during the years he was given. Those years should have been longer.

  2. Yesterday, I moved into my new apartment and started unpacking. I stopped as I came across all the sympathy cards/notes when my mom died. There, amongst everything, we're the drawings from the 4 Sommer kids. I knew which one was Sammy's even though he didn't sign it (the others did) because of the reptiles and animals and way in which he drew. I also knew that it was his way of offering me support and love at a difficult time. I shed a few tears, missing him and my mom terribly, I smoothed out his drawing and I planned on framing it above my desk, as well. His artwork and love live on....

  3. I have been following your blog for almost a year since my son was diagnosed with leukemia almost a year ago- while I have never commented I think of you and your family often. This post made me think and I wanted to comment- a few years back my cousin was overwhelmed with the artwork of her children and was looking for a way to save it and keep it in a way that they could always remember it. She worked with an artist friend and a printing company and made a collage of all of the work so that it could all be hung and protected. I realize that you may want to keep all of Sam's work in its original form, but I wanted to pass along the idea. The link to my cousin's blog where she discusses the project and you can see the final work is here just in case you would like to check it out:

  4. lost art an endless pain, lost artist even harder. I try to imagine his art,
    what he's making of me, a work in progress.