138 32nd Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL, 33704
Debra Smelik Walling is an author, artist and observer of life. It is not so much her cell phone that is attached to her hip as it is her digital camera. While she likes to observe life she also likes to capture life. Debra believes having a photo, being able to go back to see what was captured at a precise moment in time, any time is truly a blessing especially when it helps one heal, renew hope or emit a long lost smile. A photo can actually be one’s saving grace.
Debra lives in St. Petersburg, Florida continuing her dedication as a Hospice Patient Care Volunteer of 22 years, caregiver to her father and a business associate working with her husband in their decorative art business.
Her volunteer service with various organizations began in 1992 and she continues with much enthusiasm. Not a member of any group, no educational degrees follow her name and no previous publications yet this does not take away from the quality of her work or commitment.
Named Suncoast Hospice Volunteer of the Year, Debra received the Mariam “Bunny” Florsheim Award in 2010 and recognition from Tampa Bay Health Collaborative for outstanding volunteer service in the field of healthcare.
Debra’s involvement with the dying and death enabled her to meet her mother’s death with grace and clarity producing an ongoing series of painted canvases. In 2011, Creative Care, an arts in healthcare program included a collection of those healing through art canvases in their RX Art Exhibit held in St. Petersburg.
More recent, her book, Tending to My Wounds, Coping with Grief One Square at a Time is that grief expressed through art, one square at a time. Combining random entries from her grief journal with the art created gives a marvelous display how the great sadness of loss and the journey of grief can turn loss into learning and grief into growth. This colorful book captivates the reader’s attention and gives another outlet to explore when one grieves, mourns, and bereaves. Her canvases continue to reflect a mélange of varying subjects and colors all based on her state of mind, feeling or the goings on in her day. For individual or group support, Tending to My Wounds, Coping with Grief One Square at a Time is undoubtedly a great addition to the realm of grief support.