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Memories: Making It Happen

We never had much money. But, that didn’t stop Mother Hen from making things happen and that’s something that all of us learned from her. A commercial yesterday reminded me of one such incident.

I’m a born and raised Alaskan (Yes, really to those who put a review on the Salmon Run books that I’ve obviously never been to Alaska. So much for that thought.). The ironic thing is that those living in an area don’t always see all the sights around them. It’s close by, so the mentality is “I’ll get to it eventually.”

But, as painters, Mother Hen decided one summer that her and I needed to go see and photograph the Kenai Fjords. It would be great to get our own reference pictures to use in our own paintings. We had to save several months to afford one of the boat rides and fuel to drive to Seward. Paying to eat one of the fancy meals on the boat or the high-priced food places around the harbor though?

Forget it.

So, off we drove to Seward, Alaska along with our cameras and a bag-load of film, as well as the 11 bologna sandwiches we’d made. I’m not sure how we arrived at that number, but that’s what I clearly remember. Even this last year when Mother Hen’s memory wasn’t what it was, she still remembered this trip and those sandwiches. Our bologna sandwich saga always made us laugh and smile.

saxonrider / Pixabay

The day was dreary and rainy, but that’s rather normal in that area. It gets a lot of rain, as well as snow (feeding all the glaciers). The cruise was hours long and fortunately the ocean calm. There was only one other person on the boat that was out on the deck taking pictures as much as us, and his camera gear told us he was a serious and perhaps professional photographer. We laughed with him about why come if not to get out and take pictures and SEE what was out there?

We might have gotten cold standing out on the deck so much, but we did it. Went out to take pictures for as long as we could stand it, then went inside just long enough to warm up. Then out we went again. I remember taking pictures of many sea otters, puffins (one of the birds in a pic above), dolphins, tidewater glaciers, all sorts of marine birds, seals, and several whales that unfortunately kept their distance from the boat. Then there was the scenery itself. The murky weather created a layer of clouds, but under we could see pretty far.

It took years for us to afford having them all developed. No, the pictures here were not taken by us. This trip happened in the days before digital cameras. One day I hope to find them and scan them into the computer.

A day we usually we couldn’t afford, but Mother Hen decided it needed to happen, so it did. She made it happen.

Another life lesson that I’m very thankful to her for.




Memories: Creative Support

Mother Hen and I were always encouraging each other in art and other creative endeavors. Today, a find brought that home…

I’ve been trying to sort and clean just one bag, box, or corner at a time. Today it was a to-go-bag that we would use whenever we headed to a doctor office, went for tests, or drove to the ER. Along with all the typical stuff I found a tiny notebook on the bottom. Most of the pages are empty, but on several is her quite unique handwriting. Notes to herself, things to look up, other artists to look up…

And several pages of names. She loved to look for new names for me to use in my stories. She would make these lists on anything within hand-reach. Notebooks, scraps of paper, backs of envelopes.

That mind was always working. So was her wanting to help. She was always trying to help.

stacyvitallo / Pixabay

I have many writer friends and find it sad how many have family who are not supportive. I find that so very sad.

I never had any doubt of her support (or Father Rooster’s, for that matter). I’m very glad to say that I never left any doubt of my support for her art, too. She often said she wouldn’t have been as good a painter or done as much as she did without it.

Well, Mother Hen, I wouldn’t have this much writing done, or be this far without you, either. We were the wind beneath each other’s wings, and that’s something I deeply miss each and every day.

I hope each and every one of you have surrounded yourselves with people, and hopefully some family, who are supportive of your creative endeavors.




Memories: Loving the Earth

Unsplash / Pixabay

I mentioned before that Mother Hen loved the Earth and its natural beauty. I just heard a story about her that I wanted to share:

When Mother Hen was little she found a start from a maple tree. She brought it home and planted it in the front yard of the family’s ramshackle little house. Apparently that sucker grew like crazy. The last time a family member drove by, the tree is not only there, but fully grown and majestic.

What a wonderful legacy for a wonderful person. Bringing another aspect of beauty to the planet she loved.

Some day I need to see about planting a tree in her memory. She would like that.




Memories: Surprising the Painting

Mother Hen was a very talented painter. She loved landscapes, seascapes, and even painted spacescapes with me. She loved the Earth and the natural beauty in it. Several people later told us that they bought her prints to put in doctor offices because of how peaceful, colorful, and just plain beautiful they were. Her heart and peaceable ways very much came through in the finished product. Prints and originals of her work now reside in many countries around the world, and of course around the US. One day I fully intend to do something to once again share them again.

Today’s memory is about her painting sessions. She loved to work the little details, but sometimes that detailed focus is not a good thing. When she needed to see the big perspective, the forest instead of the trees, we would walk around the room in a direction we would only see the back of the canvas. After several laps we would suddenly turn around to “surprise” the painting.

It was amazing how well this worked. Suddenly seeing the entire painting all at once after filling your eyes with other sights helped us see the painting as a whole. To see how it was progressing.

My sister later told me that Sheldon on “Big Bang Theory” also does this. Sorry Sheldon. Mother Hen and I were doing this long before you. πŸ˜›

Picture of the day is of Mother Hen painting:

Mother Hen Painting

I just love that smile. πŸ™‚

She loved the creative process. I know I definitely got that from her. She was always so proud that my creativity was not only in art, but also in writing. She was my biggest fan and was always asking me when she got to read something new.

The writing will happen again. Even now, I have moments where ideas are coming from me, but the pain is too raw to do the actual prose.

But it will come. Mother Hen would expect it. She would be proud that I continued doing it and kept working at my dream of becoming a full-time writer.

Like I said, she was an inspiration and continues to be so.




Dealing With the Memories

Ebowalker / Pixabay

We lost Mom, A.K.A. Mother Hen, on January 10th. This Reddit response by GSnow has it right in so many ways. It feels like drowning right now. I’ve had losses before, but this is a big one. Huge one. I know, and knew, intellectually about the grieving process and that time will dull the hard edge of pain (with relapses).

The hard part is getting there.

I’m having issues with memories of the time in Hospice. The people there took such fantastic care of her and were so supportive of my Father and I. But it was still hard. Especially the last two days when her breathing became so uneven and her lungs filled up. The coughing she could barely do as her body tried to clear. Then the blue of those last few minutes. So at odds with the vibrant person she’s always been, and in fact, had been only two weeks before.

My dreams lately have not been fun. Having her in them, then turning around to find her slumped, blue, and dead.

Yeah, I’m doing a lot of crying. Crying even as I’m typing this.

sipa / Pixabay

After talking it over with my Father and writing friends, I’ve just started something new. Sharing memories to remember the vibrant person as a way to counter those memories of the last week. Mom had a hard life before our family and she was always open about it so she could use it to help others. To turn her pain around into something positive, to make the world a better place around her.

That’s a real inspiration. She was fantastic at inspiring the people around her. As she payed forward, I’m hoping to as well.

Mom, Mother Hen, you are still an inspiration, even now. Love you!




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Mom (A.K.A. Mother Hen) Cancer Fund

Yes, our very own beloved Mother Hen is now struggling with a GBM tumor. The family is struggling because of no insurance and we are desperate to get her the life-saving treatment she needs. If you have a little extra and would like to help out this very deserving person, please consider giving a little donation to help her along the way. Thank you!

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