The Gift: Jeanie Graustein’s Scrapbook of Artwork

1 Jan

Mom-106Linda Miller has been working with Jeanie Graustein to help compile a collection of scans of Jeanie’s original artwork and some of her favorite poems and quotes. I had heard about this project from Linda while riding home with her from Bible Study. I was impressed by how affirming this project might be to a loved one in the last period of their life. It gives Jeanie a voice that has been physically taken away by the ALS. The ultimate goal is that when they finish, three copies will be made to give to Jeanie’s grandchildren which they can enjoy for years to come. It will also help them understand more about what is special about their beloved grandmother.


Jeanie Graustein’s struggle with ALS is now in the advanced stage. She has lost the ability to move her body and she can’t talk. The parts that still function well are her eyes and her brain. She can communicate with the help of a computer that types sentences by tracking the movement of her eyes. “Her eyes are twinkly and very expressive. You can see her mind working as she gazes at the screen, asking it to communicate for her. Her intelligent mind and quick wit are very present. Her strong spirit comes through in these connections in a way that is truly inspiring! It feels like an honor to work with her on this project,” says Linda.


View of Pedernal from Ghost Ranch, NM

During the early fall of 2017 Jeanie transitioned to hospice care at home and requested that a hospice art therapist come for a few visits. Linda Miller asked if she could be present at the same time. Rachel, the art therapist, talked with Jeanie and Bill’s daughter, Meg about the idea of creating a scrapbook with Jeanie’s artwork and some favorite poems and quotes. Rachel suggested that Linda could be a great help since she was Jeanie’s long-time friend and art teacher. Meg picked up on this and asked if Linda could start going through the journals and sketchbooks with Jeanie. Linda started coming once a week, and she and Jeanie worked slowly through boxes full of journals and sketchbooks that Meg had organized. Together they identified which quotes and poems seemed important, and which sketches and paintings she would like to share. Meg meanwhile started taking art work to a print shop so it could be scanned. Once the scans came back they were placed in a large notebook with clear plastic sleeves. Recently Linda has been asking Jeanie about each of the scans: “Do you remember when and where you painted this one? What was important about it for you?” The scrapbook is now almost ready to assemble. I include several examples below:




Sidewalk grate in the fall, College St. New Haven


Moon Rising, Star Island, New Hampshire






One Response to “The Gift: Jeanie Graustein’s Scrapbook of Artwork”

  1. Maria M Chavez Brumell January 23, 2019 at 6:21 pm #

    Her beautiful spirit will always brighten our lives.
    Maria Chavez Brumell

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