This portrait, painted about 15 years ago holds a very special place in my heart because it is of my dearest, most treasured childhood toy, Green Bunny. He was passed on from my brother to my sister and by the time I had him he had faded to pale yellow. He had been so loved that he was missing his eyes and mouth. I sewed jingle bells on for eyes and that is how he remains today.
When I was 5 years old my family moved from Philadelphia to New Jersey and somehow during that move my beloved bunny was lost. It was such a deep loss for me at that age and I truly mourned him. I never stopped thinking about him and launched many searches throughout the house to no avail. Then one day, years later, my cousin Cindy and I decided to explore some forbidden boxes way back in a closet that were at the bottom of a tall pile. I clearly remember trying to pry open the flaps and peek inside without toppling over the stack. I found curtains folded on top, one of the least interesting finds to a child, but kept digging deeper until my hand touched something soft and fuzzy which I slowly pulled out. To my astonishment it was Green Bunny. I honestly don't think I have ever been happier than when I saw that faded little face. I think I was actually speechless with shock but then burst into tears of absolute joy.
Over the years since then I have suffered deep, personal losses in my family and I believe that somehow, this painting became a representation of them all. It wasn't intentional: it started out as a simple study but it has remained hanging on my wall and has the ability to bring to me to tears but also to give me a great sense of comfort. It is a thread that connects me to my past: to a childhood spent surrounded by a close and loving family. Today is the anniversary of my mother's death and when I was feeling her loss this afternoon I looked up and this portrait reminded me that her spirit is around me every single day.