Surviving irreplaceable loss.

Sue Kearney
3 min readMay 3, 2022

Surviving. And thriving.

Part of what this first month walking grief’s spiral has shown me — really clearly — is that my sister Barbara is irreplaceable.

I’m never going to find another human being to be the friend, listener, confidant, and story holder that my sister was in my life.

It’s just not physically possible, considering there’s no one left on the planet who knows me as long as she did. In fact, I’m out of bio-sisters now.

Instead of wondering who I’m going to replace Barbara with, I’m beginning to let that idea go, the idea that there’ll ever be that kind of person filling that kind of role for me again in my life.

Two back-to-back art shows. Not a sister replacement by any means. Yet, by all means, a gift from the universe. A focus for my energy and grief.

Instead, I keep opening my hands and asking the universe to bring it. Bring it. Bring me to where I’m supposed to go next, with whom, doing what. I’m here and I’m open and I’m ready.

It’s an iterative process. I miss her, I process pangs of grief, and I let go. Again and again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And then the universe put something into this vast void I’m learning to navigate.

I’m in not one art show but two. In addition to the group show I’d signed up for months ago, I just got offered my first solo show in about 20 years.

The group show is Art at the Source and it takes place the first two weekends in June.

And now — fanfare please! — I’ve also been offered a two-month solo show at Café Frida Gallery in Santa Rosa, August 5th to September 25th.

Instead of finding a person to fill this vast sister vacancy in my heart (which, again, I know can’t/won’t happen), here I am walking into something challenging and exciting and wonderful.

This big project — two back-to-back art shows — is by no means a replacement. What it is — by any definition, or by my definition — is a gift. I get to make the best eye candy I can make as I learn to live…

Sue Kearney

I mentor and encourage for women who want more joy and freedom, less stress. More creative flow, less angst. At your age. In your body. In the world as it is.