Sunday, January 30, 2011
Love is Eternal
You were taken from us six years ago today. It's hard to believe I haven't heard your voice in so long. Harder to believe that I'll never be able to hear it again.
Creative expression has always been a part of my life, but it became even more of an outlet after your death. I embraced art as a catharsis for grief. As a kid, I remember you throwing yourself wholeheartedly into daily challenges by putting a creative spin on things. You went all out. You faced fear with humor. I remember how once, while going through chemo, you'd mentioned to the doctor that you'd broken out in hives. He examined you, only to find you'd covered yourself in happy face stickers.
No fear, I recall, while working the palette knife across the canvas. Bright colors combine, change. New ones emerge. Make a statement. While spray painting through a stencil, I chuckle at the memory of when a woman had taken offense at your license plate holder, which read, "Dull women have immaculate houses." She'd waited by our car for you to get out my elementary school, where you taught. "I have an immaculate house, and I'm not dull," she said. You'd waited a moment, then got in her face and told her to "Get a [expletive] life."
It wasn't easy to have you for a teacher in 5th grade. After all, you didn't even let me call you "mom" in the classroom. But I remember your enthusiasm for teaching (and learning), your ability to connect with the students, to create a dynamic learning environment, to try and make the subject matter come alive. You'd even gone so far as to dress up like Plato for a discussion on philosophy and democracy!
Thanks to you, it feels good to stand in front of 50-something first graders -- including my own daughter -- to teach a lesson in art history. In fact, the more I do it, the more I enjoy it.
Thanks to you, I'm not afraid to take risks with my art, to speak loudly through it. I have learned so much about myself while trying to gather the pieces of healing these past six years. By remembering your strength, I've found mine. By channeling your enthusiasm, new doors have opened for me.
I still miss you terribly every day. But you're still my mother and teacher, and for that, I'm grateful.
Rest in the peace of a Montauk sunset that you'd always loved. Perhaps one day we will watch it together again.