Her given name was Bernadette Grace Bradley, born in Denver, in 1959.
She grew up with her parents and five siblings until the age of thirteen when her mom and dad got divorced.
The trauma triggered a mental illness, namely Schizoaffective disorder, which she would deal with for the rest of her life.
After the child’s father left, things changed. Welfare, food stamps and neglect. Bernadette championed her younger brothers and sisters through this initial period.
She dropped out of high school in 1977 and completed her GED, with a 4.0 on every section of the test.
The eighteen year old girl attended beauty college, which she also didn’t finish. Her Schizoaffective disorder resulted in great anxiety which made it difficult to be in the real world. She turned to journaling to cope, which would become a life long habit.
Bernadette had self medicated with alcohol since the age of thirteen and became a functioning alcoholic. She is now twenty-one years sober.
At age twenty-eight, Bernadette married and had three children.
Nicole, Sarah and Joe…
The marriage was volatile, including domestic violence.
Tim and Bernadette separated in 1997. Her and the kids spent nine months in a residential treatment program… New Directions. That was where she started mental health care… psychiatrist, therapy and medication. Upon completion they moved into their own apartment, as a family of four.
In the year 2001, the children were 3, 12 and 13… when Tim committed suicide by hanging. All three kids were very close to their father, spending weekends with him.
His death left destroyed children and Bernadette to deal with being a single mother.
Sarah, at thirteen, especially had negative fall out from her dad’s ugly end, got in trouble with the law, on probation, using drugs, alcohol and started a long downward spiral.
Bernadette had her hands full while dealing with bipolar and delusions.
Sarah had two babies, in 2007 and 2008.
Sarah, Malia and Elijah.
Sarah never recovered from the loss of her dad. She and the father of her two kids, lost parental rights and the fifty-year-old grandmother took them in.
Sarah, by her own choosing became and remained homeless for three years.
On August 4, 2015 she lost her life during an alcoholic seizure… She was 26 years old.
Crushed, overwhelmed and grieving Bernadette turned to art. She needed to see the beauty in life.
The heart heavy mother started taking pictures with her cell phone of flowers, trees and every living thing. She then digitally manipulated the photos into images she enjoyed. Art brought much peace and an outlet for creativity…
Over the next five years she showed in libraries, art shows, Instagram and a art gallery.
The images eventually went from foliage to more contemporary work…
Bernadette faced a lot of adversity in her life but always continued to see her own brand of beauty.
Nicole has brought her mother happiness and gave her two more precious grandchildren…
Nicole, Aaron and Arya.
Her son Joe, a musician, also brings Bernadette joy.
Bernadette lives with her man of six years, which she loves and he treats her like a queen.
She also recently adopted her new best friend…
Dennis and Ally.
Life Can Be Good…
“Bent but not Broken”