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This Healing Dreamscape was principally to be Carl's anniversary gift. The "Joy of Fishing" theme would include Carl's children from his first marriage, Amy's cats (which Carl was having a tough time warming up to) and also Carl Jr., the newborn son Amy and Carl lost in their first year of marriage. (The only available photo I had of Carl Jr. was made by a cell phone at the hospital.)
Initially we talked about depicting little Carl Jr. as an angel in the sky; a sort of diaphanous spirit in the clouds. But slipping Carl Jr. into an inner tube turned out to be a much better way to make him a part of the every day fabric of this family, letting him ride the heavens the way any little boy would do. Amy wrote me: "Carl & I both feel as if he's always looking over us, as if he's the little guardian angel of our family."
And how did Carl react when Amy gave him his photomontage anniversary gift?
"He first looked at it with surprise - like trying to figure out where the picture was taken. Then he began laughing so hard. He continued to stare at it and we both became rather emotional."