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always keep something broken about you. . .

“Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom now. When you still had your mother you often thought of the days when you would have her no longer. Now you will often think of days past when you had her. When you are used to this horrible thing that they will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel her revive, returning to take her place, her entire place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible. Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power. . .that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.”  ~ Marcel Proust

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I’ve been away from the blog for a long time, taking care of my mother. Earlier this month she died peacefully, surrounded by love. Perfectly imperfect and deeply loved, she is already fiercely missed. I am grateful I was able to be completely present to her, honored to be a guide as she completed her final journey on this earth. Cathartic, poignant and bittersweet for both of us.

My mother read DAM faithfully. Over the last several months she often asked when I was going to post on DAM again. Every now and then I found the time for a post and it was sweet to watch her face light up when she really liked the art. . .I will miss that. . .and so much more.

I was working on the September issue of MAM when she died. . .then couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Somehow finishing it made this more real. Irrational? Yes. But that’s how I felt. I’m back home now, working on finding a new normal, finally finishing up the September issue of MAM, getting ready to begin work on the October issue and thinking about new posts for DAM.

Thank you for standing by patiently until I returned. Heartfelt apologies to MAM subscribers for the long delay this month. The September issue will be in your inboxes soon. I can hear my mom say “What are you waiting for?”  Don’t worry mom – I’m on it.

There will always be something broken about me now and that’s ok – it is a reminder that I will never love less, that I will never be consoled, that I will constantly remember more and more. 

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19 Responses to always keep something broken about you. . .

  1. Just wanted to say that I’m still thinking of you and your mom. My mum’s birthday was January 1st, so at this time of year I feel her loss most poignantly. Susan, you are an inspiration to us all. Love, Neta.

  2. I read this post as I was prepping to have a memorial for my mom. Exactly one year to the day of her death, we finally had a gathering of family and friends. This quote of Proust fits the mood entirely!! And while it does take time to adjust, I am there now. She is beside me, still missed, but still present! Thank you for your lovely post, and my heart is with you as you adjust.

  3. What a gentle and poignant expression of love. Please take the time to heal and don’t feel pressure. We’ll all be here when you are ready and understand, promise.

  4. My mother has been lost to me for now 10 years and yet I feel the sorrow as fresh as yesterday. Not crippling and debilitating grief, that gratefully past quickly with the help of my then teenage children’s reassuring eyes full of love, but the sorrow is forever a new companion. It was so natural to share all your moments of joy and struggle and soak up the pleasure of her pride in you or profound advice. To live without that conjures the elder inside us all to rise and take our place, their place that they left empty for us.

  5. Thank you for sharing your grief experience . Death is something we don’t talk enough about. Being in a grieving situation too your opening text spoke a lot to me. Thank you!

  6. Susan,

    I lost my mom in 2008. She passed peacefully in her sleep and was always one of my biggest supporters. She loved all things beautiful and glitzy and whimsical….especially things that encouraged the heart! It’s funny that she never got to see or participate in the beautiful art I am making now.. Her passing seemed to be the catalyst that pushed me to experiment and produce my art. Now, each time I make a new Flyer or a new bird or dragonfly wall piece I imagine her saying…this one is the best you’ve ever done! In her last years, she was in pain, but hated to let me know, tired but always encouraged me to rest, her body, truly broken in many ways, she is my ” broken thing” I keep with me and her spirit still motivates me to improve and reach for my dreams.

    thanks for helping me reflect on this.

    Patrice

  7. Thank you for the quote, Susan. It brings tears to my eyes. I remember so clearly, thinking of the days when I would not have my mother and wondering how on earth I would manage without her. When it happened I did manage…. painfully …. but as time goes by I am feeling her revive, returning to take her place, her entire place, beside me. Wishing you strength and wonderful memories to comfort you.

  8. I lost my mother four years ago. I promise you, eventually, you will be able to remember her with only a sweet sorrow, a gratitude, and not just with sudden surprising — sometimes raging — tears. I send you love and hugs. May you see a gentle reminder of her in the next few days.

  9. beloved Susan: thank you for sharing this journey out loud. Know that as you step on this path you are surrounded by love. I am certain that, like ancient ceramic masters, you will fill the cracks in your life with. Gold and fairy dust. Big hugs and huge love! Xoxo

  10. I am so sorry for your loss. My husband died unexpectedly 5 weeks ago and I want to thank you for your wonderful words. Nothing but time can dull the pain but we need to be in life and keep going. I know that you as I am are thankful for the time we had with our loved one. May you ride the roller coaster in love and may your new normal be peaceful.

  11. ‘There will always be something broken about me now and that’s ok…’

    Ahhh.

    This December it will be eleven years since my mum died, and I still think of her every day. All these years I’ve struggled to find words to express my feelings – and now, in that last paragraph, you’ve done it for me!

    Please remember to take care of yourself – and know that many, many folk will be holding you in their hearts at this sad time. -Nx

  12. Hi Susan,

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. My mother died six years ago, and this article is very true. She was buried on my birthday, which, coincidentally, is 26th September. I thought this would make my birthdays horrible for the rest of my life, but it hasn’t. In some ways it has made the day ever more special, in that I have such good memories of that day with her. Please know my thoughts are with you and that things will get better and better. That love never leaves, it never diminishes. It just becomes more profound.

    Take care,

    All my love,

    Richard

  13. It does take time to come to terms with losing that special someone who is so dear to you, I feel your pain, having lost my own mother to the battle against Parkinsons in 2007, I think of her every day and will never stop loving and missing her.

  14. Susan,
    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. I can relate to your pain, having lost my own mother a year ago. I think of her every day and that helps keep her close to me. Sending you comfort and strength.
    Judith Henry
    Tampa fL

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