Sunderland woman creates heart art to help the grieving recognise their loss as she mourns her sister
A woman who lost her sister to a condition where the body attacks itself is reaching out to let others know they are not alone in their distress.
Karen Hughes was devastated when mum-of-three Claire Trueman died early last year due to cerebral vasculitis, a condition where healthy blood vessels are attacked causing them to become swollen and narrow, and due to the symptoms of a stroke.
The 37-year-old from Penshaw, who had been fit and healthy, woke one morning with excruciating headaches and vomiting at her Penshaw home and died two weeks’ later.
Karen, 40, who works at Valley View Care Home in Penshaw, has already completed the Total Warrior event to raise £2,500 for Vasculitis UK in her memory.
Now she has launched an art collection to help others come to terms with their loss.
Karen, who had a matching heart tattoo to her sister, has used the symbol in a series of canvases and items including cards, bags, mats and mugs.
She has painted some onto rocks to create ‘giving stones’ which can be passed to people to “bring hope and happiness” while other pieces feature an empty jigsaw piece to symbolise the feeling of missing someone.
Karen said: “Heart Art was created in memory of Claire and I wanted to connect with people and show that its OK not to be OK and that love is greater than loss.”
“After the initial shock, I threw myself into fundraising to raise awareness and keep busy.
“At first it helped, but after a while I was lost in my grief again.
“I have painted for many years, so I started using artwork to express my love for Claire and try to manage my grief.
“I just began thinking about how I wanted to do something positive and I hope people think ‘You know what, I feel really sad, I am mourning’ but they can know that is fine.
“I think it speaks to people who have lost anybody and looking for something else to help them cope.
“I hope it gets people talking as well.”
Karen has set up a Facebook page www.facebook.com/KTheartart/ in her sister's memory and sells her art via the North East Art Collective in Eldon Garden in Newcastle.