I remember this piece being pivotal (portrait on left). My relationship with my mom was challenging. As a child, to me she was a powerhouse. She was the president of the YWCA, she had gone to Europe at 18 as one of 50 delegates from the United States; she was in lectures with Nietzsche. She was an extraordinary woman, which I never realized until later, because, being her kid — she was tough!
To see that wolf at this time resonated with me. This drawing started my clearing with my mother, which was probably one of the most powerful things in my life — I think it was a tool that opened discussion. This opened the discussion that allowed, for months and years, for me to continually talk to her, to clear old patterns, to tell her how I felt about her as a kid, and she really took it. She took it and did her work. And boy, that’s a gift of grace! I believe it started with the two pictures here. My mother would never have done therapy in the traditional sense, but she did it in her own way.
She died in 1998; she was 78 when she died. Even in her dying process, she had done her work. She really did teach people how to die. She planned her funeral; she planned who got what, she did everything to make it so easy.
She was cremated — it was so perfect; my dad’s ashes had been spread on Mt. Washington. She said, “Split my ashes in half: have a party on a boat and put half in the lake where we go every summer. And take the other half and go up to Mt. Washington and I’ll be with your father.” There’s a lake up there, and it’s exactly like this. We put her right at the bottom of a rock just like this. I can’t believe I’m looking at this and saying, you picked her resting place!
What this Inner Portrait has done for me now — and I think probably did with this opening up — is I finally saw her not from a mother-daughter perspective, but as a human being. And I’ve had real compassion for her powerful inner life, her being an only child, her falling in love with my dad. So I am blessed with this connection. I am blessed that I was able to recognize the dark side in the relationship and work it out. Because that is such a gift. One of my intentions is to open my heart. It took the gift of my mom — and once my heart is opened, I can fly.