Love Letter #258 on Samuel’s office wall.

“I hung your piece on the wall by the light switch of my office, adjacent to the door.”

So wrote Samuel in an email last week, sharing the above photo. A psychiatrist specializing in addiction treatment, he had attended a national conference at which I presented, talking about the importance of love for those suffering from substance use disorder. In my talk, I shared examples from Beyond Beautiful: One Thousand Love Lettersa project in which I made art from love letters of all kinds, including to and from people affected by addiction.

Within days of the conference, he wrote asking to purchase a piece to help him “remember the why of what I do.”

He selected a drawing referencing a condolence letter I had received from a friend after my daughter’s death (a different kind of love letter). On it are the words: “I can try to imagine what your loss feels like and as a mother – the empty ache feels horrible.”

We completed the sale, I shipped him the drawing, and I did not hear from him again.

Then just last week, having finally settled in his new office, Samuel wrote:

“I see your drawing when I come in and out of my office, when I turn the lights on and off, when I look toward the opaque walls in deep reflection. It’s a lighthouse for me, its beam warning me from straying cold and far from the humanistic approach to caring for patients with serious illness, addiction, and pain – it reminds me not to forget the human in front of me even when emotional exhaustion sets in, when my empathy bandwidth is overstretched. I am honored to carry this meaningful work forward with me in my career and life journey.”

My drawing may help Samuel remember the why of his work, but no less than he reminds me of the why of mine.

Visit Bruun Studios’ sales gallery to see a selection of love letter drawings for sale.