Twice a Motherless Child

IMG_1738When my mom died of pneumonia, her mind eaten up by Alzheimer’s I did not cry.

Four days later, while I was sitting in a classroom fighting with statistics, Odetta moaned her bluest song in my mind: Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child.
I did. I was. Then I wept for a long time.

The storms and rains that caused mimosas to explode gloriously in brash, happy, puffy, sunny, perfumed yellow orbs, seeped through stone and the wall of a storage closet in the garage. A shelf collapsed, spilling its contents; who knows when and for how long it sat in water… long enough for mildew to eat paper, for cardboard to disintegrate, and for color to die.

While sorting through the waste, I found a small artist portfolio buried under a chess board. Dusty with mold and wet, it could no longer protect what was inside and ruined: charcoal studies of bottles; a watercolor landscape of the Congo River; an attempt at catching the smile of my firstborn in sepia; several portraits of women with huge, soulful eyes in watercolor; an orange and blue abstract filled with primitive symbols… all signed by my mother.

She never talked about her painting or drawing. I did not know the woman who wanted to fix wonder to paper, to keep it forever, to remember it when the reality of it was long gone. I would have loved that woman even more.

Odetta is in my mind again. I am twice a Motherless Child.

About emmylgant

Cloud watcher and dreamer sometimes wise, often foolish, but I am what I am.
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12 Responses to Twice a Motherless Child

  1. Poor, poor you. Virtual hugs are useless, but it is all I have to give.
    Thinking of you.


  2. pjb1943 says:

    Losing someone, as close as a mother is truly a saddening experience, Em, and made doubly so by finding, as you did, something that could have brought you even closer in the sharing.
    Peace and love,


  3. arjaybe says:

    I can feel the void and ache. Like fragments falling through the fingers.



  4. makagutu says:

    Words aren’t enough in such a loss. In silence I sit beside you hoping you will have the strength to go on


  5. In English this time, Emmy, because my French is inadequate to describe how beautifully written and achingly evocative this piece is. It brings back memories of personal reactions to the same loss, and shares the eternal pain of that deprivation.


    • emmylgant says:

      Thank you. She has been gone a long time, but finding these ruined works that she wanted to keep and yet hid, makes me hurt for her, the fragile and talented woman I did not know, and I can neither take her pain away nor mine.


  6. fiammisday says:

    Lovely and interesting blog!!! I’m following you!! Kisses from Florence!!!


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