My most recent painting is named “Autumn Leaf Medley.” It was definitely enjoyable to capture so many colors. I filled my palette with eyedroppers of dye from at least 20 bottles in order to create my painting.

Collecting leaves in Southern California is not comparable to other areas in the United States where autumn leaves are prized for their spectacle.

But I didn’t have to hunt too hard to find examples of the season. I ended up being very inspired by the bland ones, such as the oak leaves. Even though they weren’t initial standouts, their interesting bluish tones really enhanced my painting.

These are some examples of photos that I used as reference for my painting:

This is an image of my painting in progress:

Leaf 7

Whenever I see bright red autumn leaves, they evoke a very poignant memory about my young son, Jason. Sadly, he died in 1992 at the age of five from a congenital heart defect.

It touches me that on Jason’s memorial plaque it says: “A Child of All Seasons.”

Jason loved colorful leaves and ironically died in the fall. My subsequent grief was triggered every year with the change of seasons. I expressed this with my song “Every Season,” for which I have a link at the end of this post.

The dying leaves that fell to the ground only reminded me of Jason’s fragility. When I found healing decades later, I was able to embrace my sad memories and discover insights from them. I will now share a sweet memory of Jason and I exploring the magic of autumn together.

An audio clip excerpt from my “Healing Grief” course on Insight Timer:

“Can I Keep Them Forever?”

For many years there was a particular street that I avoided. I could not face seeing the trees. It was because I remembered an autumn day when Jason wanted to see a red leaf up close. He didn’t believe they were real, with their intense, crimson color.

We drove down a few streets near our home, searching for trees with red leaves. There were very few because it was early in the season. Then I saw some trees with crimson leaves that were dangling within reach. While Jason waited in the car, I carefully picked several.

He examined those leaves carefully. His voice chirped with delight as he said, “Mommy, I love these leaves. Can I keep them forever?”

And that was when I told him leaves could not last forever; everything becomes old and eventually crumbles into dust. There I was, feeling wise as I taught him about life.

However, my young child ended up teaching me far more.

Links to lyrics, stories, recordings and performances for this song:  EVERY SEASON

Leaf 1

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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19 Responses to CAN I KEEP THEM FOREVER?

  1. Judy says:

    Reblogged this on Judy Unger Music and commented:

    A tribute to my song, “Every Season.”


  2. Cindy says:

    Your drawing is really good! Jason is such a sweetheart, what a good boy, such
    a tender soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Belinda O says:

    Beautiful drawings! I can hardly tell the drawings from the pictures, except the drawings have more depth. Such a sweet tribute to Jason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Thank you, Belinda. I have noticed that, too. I see that although my paintings are faithful to my reference – I tend to smooth out some of the details. It keeps the objects crisp and clear, with enhanced color and contrast.
      And remembering Jason was definitely sweet for me. Your words are very appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Norman Goodman says:

    seeing you and Jason always touches my heart. I love you Jude!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. K E Garland says:

    Judy, I like the audio part of this. It reminds me of being a child and listening to stories with the record player. You have one of those nice voices.

    I recently followed another blogger who lost her child and talked about triggers (there was a tree involved).The two of you remind me of one another in different ways. If I can find her page, then I’ll pass it along.

    I’m always happy to read/listen to how your art helped with your grief, which in turn, helps others now ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t believe these are painted it looks like photography so realistic! I always loved how the oak tree leaves look too

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ann Coleman says:

    Your drawings are awesome, and I loved that sweet photo of you and your son. And yes, he certainly did teach you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lorriebowden says:

    Ah! Judy.
    I feel at a loss for words which is such a rare occasion for me. What a beautiful little soul, your Jason! Don’t think I am crazy, but when I look at his photo it feels like I know him. I can not imagine your pain, and I am so very sorry that your time together here on this earth plane was so short. I know he lives in your heart and soul and I imagine that you always feel him nearby. You know how we marvel at how many similarities of life we share…would you believe I have one son…and his name is JASON! As a young girl I never thought I would have children, but I knew if I ever had a boy he would be Jason.

    I love your art…I love your music. I understand the creative soul that has to express. I think those who feel so much have to get it out…and those who have gone through so much…feel so much!

    A giant hug to you. No words would be necessary…just love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Oh, Lorrie, I am savoring your beautiful comment – thank you!! I feel like I know you, just from our comment exchanges. So many interesting connections. I didn’t find out until I began writing about grief decades later – that the name Jason means “healer.” It is a beautiful name and it lives on with the music I’ve dedicated to him. I’m very touched that you appreciate my creative expressions. I am very thankful for my gift and glad that I’ve given myself permission to follow my passions at this time in my life!
      Thank you so much again, my new friend, for your hugs, support and love.


      • lorriebowden says:

        Love how you said that, Judy 😊 Being grateful is so important…and I feel that you embrace all of you beautiful talents/gifts. That is akin to full acceptance of who you came here to be…and it’s beautiful!! It is the authentic expression of love…it is following your soul’s purpose…and it doesn’t get any better than that!!
        I hope the rest of your week is filled with lovely moments 🧡

        Liked by 1 person

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