Medford, Ore. — After someone takes their own life the pain for those left behind can last for a lifetime. But one young woman affected by suicide has directed her grief into purpose by helping others find their inner strength through art.
You can often find Caroline Wasick at the LIFE Art gallery tucked away in downtown Medford’s Middleford Alley. She’s the lead artist and mentor at the non-profit that began as a suicide prevention program.
“LIFE Art has given my life a new purpose,” Wasick said.
But it was only through deep loss that she found that purpose. Ten years ago her brother Edward committed suicide leaving Wasick without her only sibling and best friend.
“After my brother died I kind of became a hermit and recluse staying in my room not knowing what to do and what’s the next step,” she said. “It took me a while to get up, get going, and just live life.”
Edward was the one who taught Wasick how to do art. For a while after his death she said she couldn’t create at all.
“One day I realized he wouldn’t want me to just sit here and do nothing, so I picked up a pencil and a brush and I started spilling the feelings I felt inside out onto a canvas,” she said.
Now Wasick is able to offer hope to others struggling with suicidal thoughts by reminding them they’re not alone.
LIFE Art began in 2009 and is quickly growing. The artists have done murals at businesses around the valley, and the program is now in six schools.
“It’s changed me, it really has, and it’s brought out the inner art that I never thought I had,” Eagle Point junior Alaina Real-Busby said.
Wasick said every piece she creates holds a memory of her brother.
“I think he would probably love this and would probably dig it,” she said.