“My Parents’ Wedding Day”

Oil painting created for one-month exhibit “Touched by War” at Kleinpell Gallery

This early oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas has no painting video, as she was not yet filming her sessions. Published in book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith”. Excerpt from book:

…for a special month long exhibit called “Touched by War”. Artists were invited to tell the story of the families of soldiers who fought in American wars. My parents were newly married when Dad got his orders for the Vietnam War. Mom was distressed when she quickly became pregnant, and her young husband went overseas for her to have the baby alone. She moved back home to her parents’ home, a tiny two-bedroom house for a family of eleven. Dad didn’t know I’d been born until he got the call. I still have the letter he wrote to congratulate my mother. Dad didn’t see me until he returned home at the end of his tour. I was ten months old.
Years later, he went on his second deployment for the Vietnam War. He developed cancer shortly after his return. He overcame cancer the first time around, but when it returned in his 30’s, the cancer quickly spread from his stomach to his lungs, and then to his brain, when he was then given only two months left to live. He died when he was thirty-seven and I was sixteen.
Mom’s stories of Dad kept him alive. Even when she had been briefly re-married, she never stopped feeling married to Dad. The two were as one, always. When Mom became ill and I was her caregiver, she often retreated into the past, when she and Dad were young and dancing to music from the fifties and sixties. She’d play their songs and I could remember them dancing together in the living room. When Mom died at age sixty-two, it was nearly twenty-five years to the day after Dad died. She kept him alive, and now she was gone. I was not prepared to feel as if Dad died all over again. The grief when Mom died was compounded in a way that I didn’t expect. Families and life are complicated. Christian faith has given me strength and comfort. Through my work, I will share that with you.

-Natalie Buske Thomas
“50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith”

Note: The artist does not sell prints of this painting. Thank you for your understanding.