Category Archives: motherless

Happy Dead Mother’s Day 2012

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Mom and Grandma

Margaret Elizabeth {Marsh} Troyer, with Elizabeth Marsh

Today was Happy Dead Mother’s Day. Sounds morose, but for years that’s what I’ve called the anniversary of my mom’s death. It helps me get through the day (the week, the month) to be a little silly about something that still makes me so sad after 21 years. Pretty soon, I’ll be as old as she was. Is?

She’s a little fuzzy now, but I’ll always miss her. I’m sure she would have loved my family.

Happy Faux Mother’s Day!

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Apparently, it was Mother’s Day today. Being motherless for 20+ years and also childless, it slipped by me. In years past, if the step-kids were here they would always wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, sometimes bringing along a craft project from school. I appreciated their thoughtfulness, and yet I always felt awkward, like a fraud: A faux mom.

I guess the only true mom role I have is with my companion animals. Thank the gods for my animal family.

I dream, to keep things moving

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus  – Week 8

This week’s focus is dreams . . . so much has been written about them. Interpretation dictionaries exist, but I enjoy some of the concepts Joseph Campbell teaches about dreams. He says dreams teach us about ourselves and that we can use them to interpret various aspects of ourselves and our lives. To do this,“write your dreams down, then take one little fraction of the dream, one or two images or ideas, and associate with them. Write down what comes to your mind, and again what comes to your mind, and again. You’ll find that the dream is based on a body of experiences that have some kind of significance in your life and that you didn’t know were influencing you. Soon the next dream will come along, and your interpretation will go further.”

This week, as we continue our Year of Mindfulness, I encourage you to pay closer attention to your dreams. Place a pad and pen next to your bed to write down any significant images that arise. What are your dreams saying to you? What are they trying to teach you?

In times of stress, change, or uncertainly, I dream of moving. Moving to a new house, a new town, or a combination of both, but never to the same place twice. Structures and places are often reminiscent of each other, but architecture and layout are different, and there are always new rooms to explore. So boringly symbolic, but that’s who we are.

Every once in a while I have a recurring dream of moving to a large mysterious old house, with secret cavernous rooms. I remember golds and browns, rich carved wood, wandering alone. Seeking. This is the only place that stays the same, waiting for me to dream it into view every now and then. Nothing to see here, move along.

Rarely, I dream of my mom. Always, she is living a seemingly plausible, parallel life. I couldn’t describe it better than I did back in November. An excerpt:

I have that dream every few years too. Except that in mine, I discover that my mom is living a normal life somewhere else, maybe just across the state. When I confront her, she seems unconcerned; she doesn’t wonder what I’ve been up to or want to reunite. She seems content to have been living in that other place all this time. In the dream, I am mildly disturbed by this, but nothing like I would be in real life. And I wake up thinking, is this a symbol, or is this a glimpse? If she exists elsewhere, and is unconcerned with me, this means I am not the center of the universe. But isn’t this what we would want for those we’ve loved and let go — for them to be unmolested by our ultimately insignificant and transient dramas? If they exist outside of this world should they not have their own lives, their own new purpose?

20+20 Vision

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I have now lived the same amount of years without my mother as with her. 20+20. Thinking of you today, mom.

So I wanted to write a long, commemorative post. But I’ve let stresses and deadlines get in the way. There’s still more February for remembering, though.

20 years, half my life, is a long enough time to have forgotten mostly everything. I can’t remember her voice, but I remember how she liked to repeat stories or phrases twice, for emphasis. I can’t focus in on her face, but I remember her eyes (the only non-brown pair in the family), her nose, her mole, her smell, the clothes she wore. I can’t remember any conversations we had, but I remember being loved, of sitting on the couch together watching TV, or a movie. I remember picking berries and mushrooms together, “going for a drive,” and her excitement over having visitors from out-of-town to show off Central Oregon to. I remember spaghetti with dried and reconstituted morels (a gallon jar of dried morels survived longer than she did), sauerkraut and hot dogs, fried zucchini, and sharing “raw” stuffing together at Thanksgiving. I remember that she liked to watch her “stories” (soap operas) and drink Constant Comment tea, which she insisted on calling Constant Comet. I remember that she had to stop drinking coffee because it upset her stomach—and later, so did I. I remember that she liked to take long, hot baths with a book—and so do I. I remember that she loved our companion animals—mostly cats, a dog here and there. I remember going to antique stores, thrift stores, and flea markets, often. I remember a house full of clutter that felt like home.

Most days, something reminds me of her. I wonder where she’s been all these years?

What color is a marble-colored cloud?

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by Franz Wright


Did This Ever Happen to You

A marble-colored cloud
engulfed the sun and stalled,

a skinny squirrel limped toward me
as I crossed the empty park

and froze, the last
or next to last

fall leaf fell but before it touched
the earth, with shocking clarity

I heard my mother’s voice
pronounce my name. And in an instant I passed

beyond sorrow and terror, and was carried up
into the imageless

bright darkness
I came from

and am. Nobody’s
stronger than forgiveness.


From The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing, edited by Kevin Young.