Scott Dornellas was the picture of health. He was thin, ate healthy, was always at the gym and kept up with normal doctor visits. What happened came out of nowhere. No history or indication of anything wrong, said his wife, Cindi.
“Scott had literally just returned home from the gym. He had a heart attack and died right in front of me,” she said. “He was revived and rushed to the hospital. Emergency heart surgery was performed, but it was not successful. October 12 (2018) our lives – my daughters (14 and 16) and I - were forever changed.”
His heart was 98% blocked - just two percent shy of a widowmaker.
Another blow. The couple never got around to making a will though they had talked about it for 20 years, the widow said. Cindi soon learned Georgia law for surviving spouses, the courts protection of minors and how very strapped she was.
“I couldn’t afford the mortgage, but I couldn’t sell the house or car. Credit cards were canceled because Scott was the primary and I was just a purchaser,” she stated. “I had no access to our bank funds because his name was on almost everything – mine just on a few things. We lost our health insurance two weeks after he passed.
“It’s crazy, not only was I grieving my husband, I was also broke and scared. I was responsible for everything but yet had nothing.”
Conversation over dinner with the girls one evening came with a question. “If you ever got a tattoo someday, what would you get,” the Canton mom asked. “My younger daughter Carly said, ‘I just found a video of dad on my phone laughing and I would want the soundwaves of him laughing. It looks like a heartbeat’.”
Cindi, already an artist, secretly stole her daughter’s phone to retrieve the video and began “delving into this new world and creation.”
“While I was making it, I was like wow, this is something. It was something magical - truly a God moment. The inception of this came from when we really started searching all our devices. Of course, we had photos from the beach, from Disney, but when we stumbled across videos and voicemails – hearing his voice – I can’t describe it, it just stops you in your tracks,” the artist stated. “You have no idea the significance of the simplicity of life like that.”
In her age group she knew that many were losing parents and grandparents. The creative side of Cindi knew what an amazing gift it would be for anybody who had lost a father, a husband, whomever – the creation of ArtBeat Soundwave was born.
Requests come in on things she admits she would have never thought of.
A healthy heartbeat after losing several pregnancies – a story that the artist herself can relate to – a message recorded for a wife’s anniversary, a proposal and a baby’s first word are just a few. The most unique so far is a woman with a heart transplant.
“It’s made me realize it’s all about life. It could be the beginning like the ultrasound, the end of life or anything in between,” Cindi said.
“I do get those who have come to me who have lost a loved one. It’s almost like a ministry and definitely God driven … if I feel like somebody is struggling, if it is a death, I share with them things that helped me if I feel like the moment leads to it.”
The soundwave image is created from an audio or video file sent to the artist. VHS and answering machines are an option for those “back in the day,” she added. Words from the sound are chosen to be displayed below the soundwave painted by Cindi. The “magic” is the QR code that plays back the original message or sound.
“The soundwaves are like fingerprints, they are all so different. There are always some peaks and valleys, like a little child with a softer voice or a bold man’s voice. It’s beautiful like that,” she said.
“Tragedy to triumph is kinda my little shtick. Good things came out of it. I talk to people every day who have gone through their own.”
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/artbeatsoundwave/
Each Sunday we write about a deserving person or charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To submit a story for us to cover, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.