When the new year came around, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and promising to write here every week this year.
Then I lost my job.
Then I lost my mother.
It’s been three months today since myself, my stepfather, my grandmother and all of her siblings gathered around her hospital bed as she breathed her last. Three months since I really, honestly could say that I knew my place in this world. My mother wasn’t the easiest person to like at times, but I always loved her. There were so many things that I held over from when I was that asshole teenager and I didn’t even realize it until it was too late to attempt to take them back.
Sometimes there just isn’t enough time. Everyone knows that in some fashion, but when the universe rams it over your head in such a spectacular way, all I really could do was try and say goodbye as best I can.
I used to always compare myself to her, especially when it came to the creative arts. I’d never be as good as her, I’d say, even as my interests went in different directions than hers. There was always that comparison whenever I’d finally show her something that I drew or painted. She always had constructive criticism, but it took me years to realize that she was making me a better artist.
I was reminded of all of this as we celebrated her memory at her SCA wake on Harold and Dinah’s 27th wedding anniversary. She pushed me whether I wanted it or not. She pushed so many folks to be better at so many things. So many folks came up to us, remembering her for pushing them to be better at their craft, whatever it was. Yes, she might not have always been the most tactful about it, but dammit, she made Art. She wanted everyone to Make Art. Hindsight is a bitch at the moment for me, but this is how I think I’d like to always remember her. I think I needed this time to sort out all of this maelstrom of grief to come to this conclusion.
Go out. Make Art. Do it for Dinah, and yourself. Whatever your flavor, whatever your medium. Help me give some long-overdue honor to my mother, ok?
For those that didn’t know her, you can see some of her work on her flickr page and some of her SCA research on her site. We’re keeping these up. I own the domain for her site and will be maintaining it as an archive.