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  • jenhale

Color in the Grayness of Your Loss

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now.

Mainly because the makers claim they can help reduce stress and anxiety.

So I thought for a second…

“Am I stressed?”


“Am I anxious?”

Check. Check.

I mean who isn’t from time to time, right?

And unfortunately, the stress and anxiety surrounding my mother’s loss rear their ugly heads more often than I want them to, so I decided why not give this “stress-relieving book of color” a whirl.

It gave me – or I should my eyes – a whirl alright.

Now, I have decent eye sight for a 32-year-old, who stares at a computer all day, but the moment I put my finely-sharpened colored pencil to the paper, I felt like I was tripping on acid.

(Or so I can imagine, being an acid virgin and all…)

My eyes were going everywhere at once.

I could not concentrate on this 8x8 square to save my life.

And if that wasn’t enough, this one sheet of paper gave me more anxiety and caused more stress than my 12th grade report card.

I mean look at it…

Does this look like something you’d want stare at for peace, serenity and happiness?

I don’t think so.

I’m calling the designers’ bluff because this page has the potential to do way more harm than good.

Not only would I be worried about making sure every flower swirly doodle has its own unique color scheme…

But I’d get carpal tunnel having to sharpen my pencils every 2 minutes to make sure I get in those tiny little crevices that even a mouse, whose hand is about 1/1000th the size of mine, would have trouble coloring.

Have no fear… (or anxiety… or stress, of course).

Jen Hale is here!

With a much, much, much more simplistic, yet highly rejuvenating page to color.

It’s an adorable little donut…

I bet you weren’t expecting that, huh?

Or that he’d be smiling right back at you, either.

As you can see, he is cross-eyed but I promise you it’s not contagious.

In just a matter of minutes, you can create your very own culinary masterpiece with ease and delight right before your very own eyes…

And, if you want, your nose too!

I cannot tell you how giddy I felt opening this box of scented colored pencils.

Not only did they remind me of the times I used them in Mrs. Thomas’ first grade classroom, making me feel just like a kid again...

But the familiar scents reminded me of my mother.

The blue pencil smelled of fresh blueberry, which reminded me of the muffins she used to make.

The red one was strawberry, allowing me to drift back to the times she used to ask me to pick our modest crop from our little backyard patch on a summer’s eve.

Finally, yellow was lemon, giving me the chance to taste the delicious meringue pie she’d bake for my birthday because I loved it so much.

With every lungful of fruitful bliss, I had the chance to reconnect with her, giving me an instant rush of happiness.

What I loved most about this exercise is that I now know one more place where I can find her if I need to feel her love...

In a box of scented colored pencils.

As I colored in each sprinkle, each square inch of icing, and each star and heart, I could feel my smile getting larger and larger.

And the finished product produced the biggest smile of all...

It was even bigger and goofier than the one Damian the Donut so handsomely adorns (above).

Before she died, I would have never dreamed of putting such an eye sore of a picture on my perfectly curated fridge...

But now that's exactly where it's going.

Mainly because she wouldn't have thought twice about hanging this picture on hers.

So if you’re feeling stressed or anxious in any way, go buy yourself a children’s coloring book with a big old box of old-fashioned colored pencils. (I highly recommend the scented ones!)

Turn off your phone and create something you can treasure just like your loved one would’ve done.

Once you’re finished, you will not only feel all warm inside, but, most of all, you will feel accomplished that you successfully colored in the grayness of your loss.

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