A Mother’s Hug Lasts Long After She Lets Go

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A watercolor rendition of a photo of Joey Feek and her daughter Indiana

It’s post Mother’s Day, a day that is meant to honor. remember, and celebrate our mothers and our own motherhood.  It is often a day of joy and making memories, but for many, it is also a day that signifies loss.  It might be the loss of a mother.  I lost my own mother at the age of 44 due to breast cancer.  It might be the unimaginable loss of a child.  I lost my first daughter, Sierra RayLeen, who was a preemie that died the same day she was born.  Perhaps it’s the loss of hope to become a mother, or the feeling of loss for a mother that has given up a child for adoption, or has been a surrogate, granting another to experience the joys of being a mother.  For some, it may be a combination of these scenarios, or others not mentioned.  I feel so fortunate to have known my mother and have had her for as long as I did.  I know so many that lost their mothers at a much younger age than mine.  Sadly, some never even know their mother.

Joey Feek, country singer and composer, was on my mind on Mother’s Day.  She died recently of cervical cancer, leaving behind an amazing family, including a beautiful daughter, Indiana.  Her story captured my heart from the moment I heard it.  Perhaps it was because she was so young, as was my mother.  Perhaps it was because she died of cervical cancer (I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, the earliest stage remedied with a hysterectomy).  All I know is that I was drawn into the story of she and her family as she was deemed terminal and she went to her childhood home to spend her remaining days with her family.  Her husband, Rory had said she was not going home to die, but to “live”.  The love she had for her family was evident in every last photograph that was shared with the public. I did an abstract painting from a photograph of Joey and her daughter, Indiana, who had fallen asleep on her mother who was embracing her while laying on a hospital bed.  It was a beautiful photograph, and the moment I saw it, I knew I wanted to paint it.  I had found a quote that I thought was perfect for this photograph, “A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go”.

On this Mother’s Day, I was elated to spend time with my two grown children, Talisa and Taylor.  I am so thankful that God blessed and entrusted me with these  two beautiful beings.  They are grown-up, but they will always be my babies.  I have outlived my mother’s age by nearly five years now, and I recognize how fortunate I have been to watch my kids grow up and to see my grandchildren.  Nothing is promised and we never know how much time we have here on earth.  I am truly grateful for every moment I have with my children, whether it’s spending time together, on the phone, or even the little messages we send back and forth (thanks to current technology).  As quoted by Hermann Hesse, “If I know what love is, it is because of you”.

Great Expectations

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Great Expectations

It’s been nearly 29 years since I experienced my first pregnancy. I knew very early on in my childhood that I wanted to be a mom. I was only 19-years-old when I was first married and was pregnant less than a year later. I can still remember the first “flutters” in my belly, proof that there really was a little being growing inside. It was the most amazing feeling and I couldn’t wait to meet my “little”. Unfortunately, our meeting came three months too soon. I was only six months pregnant when I went into labor.  My little’s lungs weren’t fully developed and she survived for less than six hours. It was painful and beautiful at the same time. While we were devastated, we felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend those precious hours with our baby girl. A future blog post will be solely dedicated to my baby girl Sierra RayLeen.  “Great Expectations” was created to celebrate the beautiful experience of becoming a mother; certainly the most amazing experience of my life.

Only “Littles” for a Little While

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This is a picture I painted that brought me back to when my kids were still little (all now in their 20s).  It’s titled “Morning’s Lullaby”, referring to the many early mornings I fed and rocked my children back to sleep.  It was an amazing time.  It’s fun to watch them grow into adults (most of the time…I’m not going to lie, the teenage years were not kind a few times).  Everyone tells you that it happens “in a blink of an eye”; however you truly don’t realize it until your kids are grown.  Right before your eyes, they go from a helpless infant in your arms, snuggling into your neck, into a grown-up with children of their own.  My kids are adults, and grandchildren have helped ease the melancholy moments, but my children will always be my babies.