When I wondered why my lovely new friend Travis Mayfield had been silent for a couple of weeks, a quick visit to his Facebook page explained the sad reason. He and his husband Curtis had tragically lost their two year old son on April 10th.
I reached out to give my condolences. Travis, the social media director for Q13Fox News here in Seattle, has been a delightful supporter of my art and of Skip and Pip. He has highlighted them three times during various morning news programs.
Through Twitter I reached out and sent condolences. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. Only those who have can really understand Travis' and his family's devastation. But only a couple of minutes after our conversation Stars came to me. I envisioned the entire comic and Skip and Pip's discussion about loss in about 45 seconds. That is a rare event. Normally I have to finesse the dialogue much more than that.
Quickly I grabbed my bullet journal and wrote it down in case I would forget how it played out in my head at that moment. I sketched it pretty much word for word.
To be honest, I was worried with this comic. This was new territory for Skip and Pip. Until now I had for the most part kept things lighthearted. Upbeat. This episode was far from that. Would fans of Skip and Pip feel okay with this more difficult subject matter? I parked it in my brain for more than a day, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. Anybody who creates anything I'm sure knows what it feels like to have an idea take over. Like an itch you have to scratch.
Onward I went with it. Crossed my fingers. A friend, author Alexis Hall, would later say to me when I expressed my worry to him, "It's okay to take people into sad territory if you take care of them while they're there."
I had hoped it would provide some solace to Travis and it did. What would come as a surprise to me is how it touched so many other people. So many kind messages were sent to me (and to Travis) about how they will now look at the stars with different purpose. A grief counseling center in Canada reached out and asked if they could add posters of "Stars" to their parent and child rooms.
That is incredibly humbling. Thank you for all the love you expressed for "Stars" and for keeping Travis in your thoughts.
And watch out for postcards. They show up in miraculous ways.