In 1991 my mother was diagnosed with cancer.
My parents were planning a huge cross-country camping trip. They traveled a lot, including camping trips with their square dancing or bridge-playing friends. But Dad wanted to take a really big trip lasting several months. He said he had been waiting his whole life for a trip like this. They never took this trip.
My brother got married in June of 1991 and most of us came up to Indiana for the wedding. My mother wasn’t feeling well and thought it was the flu. My sister B. (2nd from right) stayed behind after the rest of us went home, to be sure Mom was okay. In July they diagnosed cancer, of the pancreas, but it had spread so they didn’t really know where it started. That’s me all the way to the right. I told you I was never good at choosing my own clothes. I never own anything appropriate for a wedding.
I visited in August. This was when I asked Mom what it was like when she was a young woman. In October the doctors said the chemo wasn’t working and they couldn’t do anything else for Mom. My sister B. told me I’d better come home. We had a few days with Mom. I made a sketch of this image years later. Mom had to get out of bed and sit in a chair so the bedding could be changed. She took my hand and leaned her head on my arm.
Mom slipped into a coma and passed away just a few days later. Then it was Funeral Hell Week. There was one viewing in Indianapolis and then another viewing in Chicago for Mom’s family, and a huge Catholic Church Funeral Mass. It was a lot.
- Mom in the Hospital.
The Mom Dreams. The bright red bandana square dancing dress.
After Mom died I had many dreams where she was there, in the house, and I was saying, “Mom! You aren’t supposed to be here!” She always seemed to be wearing her red square dancing dress.
I began drawing and painting Mom as a young woman, with her black 40s hair. Artistically, I really got lost.
The Mom as Virgin Mary (Naked) series.
I’m not sure why I drew and painted Mom as The Virgin Mary. Naked. But I did several.