Debra Smelik Walling
Author, artist and observer of life. Born in Hampton, Virginia, Debra currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida continuing her dedication as a Hospice Patient Care Volunteer of 22 years, caregiver to her father and a worker bee helping husband, Jeff Walling with their decorative art business, WilderAnn.
As much as she likes to observe life, Debra also likes to capture life through photography. She believes, “Having a photo and being able to go back to see what was captured at a precise moment in time, anytime can truly be a blessing especially when it helps one to heal, renew hope or emit a long lost smile. A photo can actually be, one’s saving grace.”
Debra's 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 published in June 2016, 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 experiences 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.
Debra S. Walling
138 32nd Avenue North
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704-2218