When Mother's Day Fell on My Mom's Last Mother's Day

When Mother's Day Fell on My Mom's Last Mother's Day

11 years ago, on this day, was the last Mother’s Day my mom had… years travel at light’s speed and gain momentum in every passing. If we all be but hiccups in this universe, I dare say my family was a real gas! Jokes aside, talking to anyone in this pic, none could’ve predicted how the picture would change. I’m grateful for the memories. I’m even grateful for the ones that have become bittersweet.

In this picture, now, I see 3 lost to this plain, one marriage just begun while another yet to come, 3 children whose forecasts couldn't be imagined, 4 out of state moves with myself having 2 of those, laughs and struggles, estrangement, a snapshot of any given family, I suppose. If I were to paint this picture now, it would be shaded with all the experiences since, even the ones that haven’t been so kind which weren't few. But, my palette in that landscape would still be vibrant and warm. It would be a slurry, a flurry of color. It would have a measured rhythm, the pulse and consistency that is the idea of family. It would be a peace I’d enjoy creating. It would be a piece others might enjoy, even feel a sense of connection yet not necessarily understand why.

People ask me what inspires me to paint as I do. They see my writing, carefully crafted in expression and detail but my paintings are just colors, representative of seemingly nothing most of the time. The reason for this is simple. Life, in its full spectrum, cannot be defined in words or representations. Allegory, symbology, metaphor… sure, these are all useful tools but we don’t even know where emotions come from so how the hell can we be so hubristic as to believe our manmade constructs can truly capture an essence, a feeling or an expression?
So, if I were to paint a picture from this picture, knowing all that would happen to these people, knowing all the good and the bad, feeling in ways I doubt I’ll ever be able to wholly sort through… if I were to paint that picture in all the full shades and depths, why would it still be that bright vibrancy I’m imagining? And, more so, why am I speaking in such a manner on Mother’s Day when I should be celebrating the woman that birthed me? The answer is: This is her. She birthed me but I was reborn when she taught me, “Don’t let other people’s actions change the sweet person you are. Don’t allow yourself to become bitter because of things that have happened.”

It’s strange when people pass this plane. All of the bullshit, silly arguments fade into shadows. It’s not a complete beatification yet it’s close, especially when the poignancy of their absence is made more acute like during holidays. My mother was human, as we all are. She had her strengths and her weaknesses, as we all have. Yet, I imagine her fiery red and a soft, pastel pink. I mean, look at her arm and its hanging flesh, the delineation of muscles in her neck, taunt, holding up her wigged head and her chest slightly sunken below her clavicle yet shoulders still held back. She’d fought stage 4 almost 6 years by now; this picture personifies the sickliness she was and grace she emulated. SPEECHLESS.

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