This is my friend Alison.
She’s an artist. And really tall.
Alison grew up with her family along the coastal shores of Maine. She spent a lot of time outside in nature and with her father on a boat on the sea.
Once upon a time Alison decided to be an artist when she couldn’t stop drawing and coloring all the creatures that were part of her natural environment, especially the ones in the ocean. From this love, her Festive Fish business was born. Her motto – color your life happy!
I met her a while ago when I worked in the little Main Street bookstore in our village. We sold her colorful cards and calendars depicting simple, sweet and animated fish, lobsters, shells, and natural designs born from her bright imagination.
She told me a lot of stories about her life along the shore, and how her artwork was not just part of her life, but an extension of her heart and soul. One day she told me a story about a time that changed her life. But it was very sad. Tragic in fact. Clear out of the blue only a short time before we met, her father was diagnosed with cancer and it changed Alison’s life forever. As she held her father’s hand until he could not hold on any longer, she closely watched what it is like to experience terminal illness.
And Li’l Bug was born.
Alison told me all about Bug, and his long journey when he found out he was dying.
Alison worked and worked on bringing Li’l Bug’s story to life in memory and honor of her father, who she missed so very much. Sometimes she woke up in the middle of the night and wrote down what Li’l Bug wanted to say. Sometimes she worked through the night drawing and coloring what Li’l Bug wanted to share. She even sewed Li’l Bug and he sat by her side day and night inspiring Alison to keep going, even when she felt like she couldn’t.
Finally, Li’l Bug’s special story became a real book, that Alison did all by herself. It’s safe to say that blood, sweat, and tears went into this project, one that helped Alison evolve her beautiful soul through gut-wrenching loss and grief.
Alison took her brand new book to her father’s grave, sat Li’l Bug down next to her, and read the story out loud. And now she would like others to hear his story. It’s a tale of true inspiration that reminds us to live our best life in spite of what life hands us. It shines a bright light on the importance of enjoying the time we have when we don’t have much time. It helps those going through medical trauma learn to feel peace. And while its message is especially wonderful for children, it’s filled with wisdom for adults too.
I wanted to share the bravery of my friend Alison, who listened to her heart and embarked on a difficult journey to heal, with the hope of helping others. It took a lot of patience and a lot of guts, and I watched her bring it from imagination to reality over the last two years. She never gave up or quit even when it got really tough. Congratulations Alison, and thank you.