My husband and I recently took a nostalgia trip to Kansas City (that’s where we met, y’all) and spent an afternoon at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
I was wandering through an exhibit, chewing on a particularly vibrant rendering of John the Baptist by Caravaggio when I threw a glance towards this oil on canvas by American painter Albert Bloch (1882-1961).
My heart jumped in my throat, the strangulation immediate. I fought down the nausea of recognition, for I wasn’t looking at a painting. I was looking in a mirror.
There I stood. There I sat. There I knelt. There I hid. There I scorned. There I blamed. There I questioned. There I wept. There I comforted. There I rejoiced.
Every posture of grief, every thought of denial, every self-absorbed motivation, every moment of isolation, every cross-bearing tear, every giving in, every turning to another, every turning to the Light.
I stood before my reflection and barely took notice of a father somewhere behind my right shoulder explaining a nearby painting to his school-aged daughter. They were oblivious to my plight.
I didn’t cry in the museum if that’s what you’re wondering. No, tears aren’t for open exhibits on nostalgia trips. If this painting teaches us one thing, it’s that grief likes to hide her face from even you.
She saves her tears for locked hotel rooms and public restroom stalls.
The name of this painting?