When my mother left us after a sudden short struggle with cancer at the unripe age of 69, I was stunned. She was so dynamic, so full of life, so creative – and yet, she was gone.
I found out first hand how you never know how much your mother impacts your life until she’s no longer here on the planet.
Six months before, she’d called me to say, “I have cancer. I’m told it will kill me, and they won’t operate.” Nothing like a death sentence to create a flurry of phone conversations.
In those few months, we spoke together more than in all the previous 40 years I had been alive. After she was gone, despite all our conversations, I still hadn’t any real idea of who she was.
I realized that our talks had centered on here and now, not what happened during this part of her life, or that. I knew that she was kind, artistic, smothered as a child, an avid gardener and sailor, a not-so-silent advocate for the earth and environment, and loving mother. But to this day, I still have no clue as to her deepest thoughts.
I also suddenly realized that my own children probably didn’t have a clue about me, either – what I had been through growing up, what I did before their dad and I were partners, even how I think and feel now, 40 years after they were wee ones – and what I’m passionate about – besides art, of course.
So I started writing stories about my life specifically for them. Even if they never read them before I died, they’d find them later. I hoped.
Since my older son is also an artist, I included a lot of art and ideas about where I get my ideas and some of the unique ways I use art materials.
Publish them, she demanded!
After I sent some of the stories to a friend for her to edit, she scolded me: “Angela, these are good! Why aren’t you publishing them?”
“Well, they’re so personal, I’m not so sure I want to reveal my most inner secrets to just anyone. It’s hard enough just to write them even knowing they’re for my kids.”
She said, “Angela. Write more. Publish them.”
I said, “yes ma’am.” This is one of the first books to come out of that decision.