Monday, April 27, 2015

memories of my mama

yesterday afternoon, while everyone was napping and the house was finally quiet, elodie and i sat together outside. we had picked rosemary, pine needles, and bits of flowers to make little fairies but ended up talking about a trip i am about to take to seattle to see my mother. i picked up an artifact uprising book that i just made for her and we sat looking at it together. elodie loved looking at all the photos of my sisters and i as little girls, and my mama, so young. she kept saying "was that really you and grandma, mama?" and it made me so happy to have a record of some of my moments with her.

my mother is quite ill and has been for some time. i don't know how long i will have with her and this, of course, is incomprehensible to me. even typing it seems like some sort of concession which is probably why i haven't shared news of it here. i am an optimist at heart and am trying to not go too far into the unknown, thinking what life could possibly look like without her. 

but she is here now...

and so i thought to gather some of my favorite photos of her, and i asked my siblings to scan some and send them along to add as well. it isn't a comprehensive book and that is fine. my hope was to somehow capture a glimpse of how she feels to me and that is there. from when she was very little to her current sixty nine year old self...she has the same beautiful essence, sunbeam smile, and warm heart. 

but how i wish i had a photo of her taking us to teepee the neighbor's house when we were teenagers. 
or us bundled into the back of our car in pajamas at the drive in theater eating popcorn out of a brown paper bag. or a photo of us digging for mussels in penn cove on a sunny summer day. or one of her holding me on her lap, my head in her bosom, listening so intimately to her voice, more familiar to me than my own. all of these moments are ingrained deeper than any image. these moments run through my blood and remind me to be as present of a mama as she has been to me. our days fly by and we often have nothing tangible to show for them. thank you artifact uprising for reminding me to bring some of my most important memories with her to the forefront. they say moments like these never last...but i don't believe it. 


  1. elizabeth, what a beautiful thing this is. i have struggled the past five years after losing my mom (and the months leading up while she was fighting cancer) with the "incomprehensible" feeling, so I know what you are going through. only this past month am i starting to open my eyes (after lots of listening to talks on buddhism, meditation, etc) to the reality that we all lose the people that we love and we have to let go. it is too much to carry around. you are doing the right thing, focusing on the beautiful times and sharing those with your daughters. i find comfort in realizing that it was great to have had her, and she paved the way to teaching me how to care for and love unconditionally my daughter. our mothers are in our children. big hug and ill be thinking about you.

  2. this is so beautiful and believe it will be cherished for generations! would you mind sharing the inscription on the last page with the if it isn't too personal.

  3. This brought me to tears and I thank you so much for sharing. I lost my mom when my son was 15 months old and I have been looking for a way to create a book of my mom, for my son - this is perfect. I take comfort in the fact that my mother got to be a grandmother - one of life's greatest gifts - and that I have photos to share with him, to remind him of their profound relationship.

    Something I am compelled to say about illness.. my mother gracefully endured an illness that gave us the opportunity to heal, forgive, to consciously experience extraordinary moments together that would never have happened under different circumstances. We walked through the fire together, hand in hand and without this my life would be on a different trajectory.