Every now and then it hits me. She’s gone. I will never see her again. I will never hold her hand with those arthritic knuckles that made them resemble gnarled tree branches, misshapen and yet beautiful. I will never get another email from her containing silly videos or stories or photos and it is during these times that I feel both overwhelming gratitude that I had a mother whom I loved deeply, and unspeakable pain that grips my throat and clenches my stomach. That she went quickly and did not suffer is something I constantly remind myself. Still it’s tough. She was my mom. It is a loss unlike any other that I’ve experienced.
One of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn in life is to hold two seemingly opposing ideas and/or feelings and allow both to be true and valid. I miss her and am grateful she went quickly, yet there are times when I am overwhelmed by the pain of losing her.
Mom and Richard at her birthday party
Over the years this idea of two opposing forces has taken shape; a person I love has views I hate, yet I can still love them. Someone does something hurtful, yet I can forgive them. I do something hurtful and so I must make amends and then do the painstaking work of learning to forgive myself. And on it goes. Two seemingly opposing things held in each hand, both are true, even though upon first look they seem to cancel each other out, they do not. They co-exist and in that co-existence there is peace.
But none of these various articles capture the impact my mother had on those she loved. My mother was a force. She was one of those women who was a beautiful blend of fierce intelligence, wit and passion.
My favorite story regarding my mother was when I was pregnant with my first child. I reached out to her asking for advice. She wrote back saying that she had given this a great deal of thought and then wrote, and I’m paraphrasing now, that the best any of us can do as parents is to love our children, tell them, yes, but more importantly show them, daily how much we love them and one day they will forgive us. Fierce, brilliant, funny, passionate, check, check, check and check. And wise. She was so very wise.
During covid my mother sent videos, articles, stories and photographs, often silly, usually funny, always interesting to help cheer her recipients of whom I was one. I often shared the things she sent me on this blog, using the title, Sh*t My Mother Sends Me. Often those posts were among the most popular and that made her, and me, happy.
In July of this year I went with my son to visit her. She was frail, but her fierceness was undiminished. When I arrived, having lost the ability to speak, she typed, “It’s been too long.” I promised her I would not allow that much time to pass again, unaware that it would be the last time I saw her. I told her about my upcoming trip to Africa that my husband and I were about to embark on mid-August to celebrate my 61st birthday. Africa held a special place for both my parents and the art and stories of their travels surrounded us when I was a child.
Richard and I left for Africa on August 13th. Shortly after, I was told she was failing. Complications related to aging and a life well lived, it became increasingly clear that she would not live much longer. I took to calling in the evening and my sister would hold the phone to her ear so that I could tell her of our African adventures. She died August 27th at 5:30am surrounded by love and her children at home, just as she wanted.
Mom, you showed me how to love and live life with courage, humor and compassion. You led by example and did exactly as you instructed me to do, so many years ago, when I sought your parenting advice. I grew up knowing I was loved. You showed and told me how much you loved me and as a result, no matter what challenges I have faced, every day was a little easier because of you.
I’ve been busy. My Zoom class: Making Waves ~ A Drawstring Bag, which was an eight week “stitch along” is concluding today. We had SO much fun! I cannot show the finished bag in this post, but I will in next week’s post when I will also launch it in my Etsy Shop. Very exciting. Oh, okay, here’s a sneak peak…
Then a couple weeks ago my friend Pat Pauly sent me some amazing hand dyed linens that she did and I was just astounded once again by her artistry. She does such beautiful work! If you have any interest in learning how to paint, stencil and mono print fabric consider taking one of her fabulous workshops. She is a terrific instructor and has a great sense of humor. Her workshops are a blast.
Oh, and did I mention how much I love Pat Pauly’s silk scarves, which she hand-dyes and sells? I wear one every day. Seriously. That’s not an exaggeration. In the YouTube Video – A Snowy New York City that I posted on Tuesday I’m wearing one and pretty much any other video I’ve posted in the past few months you can see me wearing one of them. I have a few. Okay, in truth, I have SIX. I know, I know. I totally have this under control, I promise. I do. Really.
In the above photo I’m wearing one of Pat’s silk scarves wrapped around three times AND my brand new glasses, which, wow, what a difference!! (I promised my mother a photograph of my new glasses. So here you go, Mom AND you’ll be pleased to know I’m drinking lots and lots of water. I love you.❤️)
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!
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Please browse and look at our patterns available. We also offer Workshops! ~Ariane