Within just the first few moments of watching the documentary, A Place to Stand, on the life of poet activist Jimmy Santiago Baca, I knew I was in the company of a deep spirit who offered radiant gifts of healing inspired through his painful life journey. The documentary was shown as a fundraiser for a local high school's writing program. I had also donated to the "A Place to Stand's Educational Campaign" and will be joining Jimmy Santiago Baca for a poetry reading, where he will read and I will read. I can't think of a better birthday present to myself than that! Thank you, Jimmy, for your bountiful gifts.
Missing Mommy on Mother's Day
We celebrate "mother love" on Mother's Day: the strength, love, and dedication that inspires a woman to devote herself to nurturing a helpless baby into a strong, capable and life affirming child who is transformed by day to day life experiences and parental guidance into a loving adult. And what of the poignant sorrow we feel in our hearts when our mother can not receive our flowers of thankfulness here on earth because she has passed on from this earthly world? Her death could have been when we were a child. Or when we were a young adult. Or older, much older adult. Perhaps that dying is happening now. Her death might have come suddenly. A tragic event. Car accident. Drug overdose. She died in her sleep. Domestic violence that horrifically ended in murder. Or a physical illness be that sudden or chronic leading to her earthly farewell. Or perhaps our mother had physical or mental illness or other life circumstances that took her away from being able to fulfill the mothering she wanted to be able to give. The lost mother that we needed. What of that love, those tears, that yearning that still beats in our hearts?
I wrote the story Missing Mommy in the 1990's when I met a young child whose mother had been murdered. When I asked for her magic wishes, she told me she wanted to fly on the back of a bird to see her mother again. I was so moved by her heartbreak, that I wrote Missing Mommy for her. In the story the little girl has a magical dream and flies on her own wings to see her mother again. When she awakens into day, she asks her grandmother if her dream really came true. More than twenty years have passed in my life. When I became a grandmother in 2014, suddenly the story of Missing Mommy spoke from deep within me with great intensity and urgency to be made real in the world. My mother had died in 2001. She was killed in a car accident, just a few days before her 80th birthday party that she had planned. I reached out for an illustrator by an online post at elance. Thirty artists from around the world responded to my call to bring to life a child's bereavement story. A story of love. Amazingly, the artist I chose to be illustrator for Missing Mommy lived in Portland, Oregon where I was staying. Her mother had also died.
Hadley Hutton (the illustrator) and I met for tea before I traveled back to New Jersey. Now it's two years later and I live in Portland. I see my daughter and granddaughter all the time, and my dream of Missing Mommy has been born into the world. Beautiful she is and created from love. A love for mother, a love of mother's love. The love of a child who is longing for her mother, no matter how old that child now is, and no matter where her mother lives, here on earth or in heavenly beyond. The ever lasting love that mother's give in blessing to their children. On Mother's Day, so many of us are missing mommy. Missing her every day. If we are fortunate, we also still live in her love. A healing love that transcends death. Happy Mother's Day to us all. Please read Missing Mommy. Please share this beautiful book. See Amazon.com or the Create Space bookstore for Missing Mommy.
As a child, Diane Kaufman wrote in her grade school composition that when she grew up she wanted to be a "medical doctor or a medical drawer." Her passion as expressed in poetry, story, and art seeks to inspire positive transformation, to help "humanize" our life experiences, to increase our connection with each other, and bring awareness of Arts Medicine as valuable in promoting and nurturing health, healing and well being.