Paintings From Heaven
For most, it’s hard to imagine the unbearable pain of losing a child. But for those who have experienced such a loss, finding peace and pulling themselves out of such heart-wrenching grief is often the most difficult trial of their lives.
For one Utah mother, Terra Teller, who lost her little girl Mariah nearly a year ago from DIPG, a rare form of inoperable brain cancer, finding some way to deal with the pain was a necessity in order to help her husband, who just three months after Mariah’s passing was diagnosed with leukemia.
Mike, Terra’s husband had been undergoing a study for psoriasis with the medication Stelara when Mariah was diagnosed with cancer in July 2013. Three months later Mike’s white blood cell counts started to rise and the doctors started to worry about cancer. Mike didn’t tell Terra that the doctors had concerns that his high counts could be linked to cancer because he felt that Mariah’s condition was more stressful than she could already bear.
Mariah passed away April 7th, 2014. Mike’s leukemia diagnosis was confirmed three months later. Still in the height of their grief, and with all the existing medical bills and funeral expenses for Mariah, they said this diagnosis could not have come at a worse time.
“We really had to try to be strong for him,” Terra said. “I tried looking for work, especially since his medication is $9800 a month, not to mention the co-pays, travel expenses, etc. that insurance does not cover.Mike is currently being treated through The Cancer Treatment Center of America in Arizona.”
She felt there had to be a way through it all, to find some sort of relief from all the stress her life situation was putting her through. Terra remembered she had received a gift certificate to a telephone medium for Christmas. While she has always been skeptical of communication with those who have passed on, she decided to go make the call anyway. In speaking with the medium, she determined that the values and beliefs the medium professed were consistent with her own, and Terra felt comfortable enough that she made the decision to go through with it.
“She told me so many crazy things Mariah would have only known. She then said that Mariah wants me to do art in her room to help me heal, but I thought maybe she meant singing because I’ve always liked to sing. One day I got a feeling that I wanted a new painting in my room and I couldn’t afford to buy anything so I had the weirdest thought to paint one.”
Though she had never picked up a brush before, Terra began to paint.
“I know my daughter knew that would help me and that’s why she told the medium I needed to do art,” Terra said. “I thought it was funny since I failed art in junior high, but I used to draw for Mariah because she would always beg me to draw Nemo, fishes and turtles, so I got pretty good at those.”
Terra started painting a week after her conversation with the medium. “The things I feel drawn to paint I know now have all been signs from her, like the tree. I later found out that tree I’ve been painting is known as the tree of life,” she said. “I paint birds because Mariah and I used to look for birds. And she has always loved owls and flowers. This is my way of honoring her and keeping her memory alive. I’m excited and so honored.”
Terra’s paintings have been inspirational for many and she makes sure she donates some of them to charity auctions.
“I believe that God sends people to be his angels in times like this and we certainly have many many angels,”she said.
Help has come in many different forms like friends buying her paint for her paintings and organizations like Children of the Earth who helped with Mariah’s wish list before she died. The Tyler Robinson foundation helped them make a headstone and the community got together and nominated them for a car.
“In the middle of this horrible trial, we have been blessed by so many that our journey would be impossible and unbearable without them,” she said.
The paintings are helping to supplement their income as Mike’s leukemia is chronic. He expects to be on chemotherapy for the rest of his life.
“He is able to control it pretty well and is expected to live a longer time but will never be cancer free,” she said. “The medicine makes him so sick he crawls into the bathroom each morning before work because his muscle joints and bones hurt so bad. He is a wonderful man and doesn’t give up. He still tries to go to work everyday.”
The Tellers, who will be celebrating their 20th anniversary in May, also have a 20-year-old son, Marcus, who has been right there with them as they have endured more than most families face in a lifetime. It took them 16 years after Marcus was born to bring little Mariah into their lives.
“Being a mom is the single most important thing to me,” said Terra. “My family brings me more joy then any other thing and I pray some day another child will enter into our lives.”
Terra’s paintings can be viewed and ordered through her Facebook page Art For Angels.