Sunday, May 1, 2011


There is a sadness that lives beneath my consciousness of being extravagantly blessed. It has to do with the slowing down of the old people, with the sense that these people I love so much will one day soon be gone from me. Mostly, I just miss my mom.

The warm weather is back, it's a glorious day outside, and the association I have is this is the season when my mother turns her mind to flying back north, to her little treehouse studio across the way. Two weeks ago, she returned to St. Lucia after several months in Jamaica with my brother. She sounds happy to be back in her home, despite being down with the flu, and despite the fact that she is even weaker than when she left New York last November. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that she may not fly north this spring or summer. She may want to settle where she is for a while, all the artifacts of a life spent with my dad around her, with the woman who has kept her house for more than two decades, an angel in mortal coil who held her as my father lay dying, watching over her. Meanwhile, back in New York, her apartment sits empty, waiting for her return, all her things as if she had simply gone upstairs to visit her sister. 

And that is another thing. Aunt Winnie is so near to the end now. I think my mother does not know how she would go on in that building without her beloved oldest sister upstairs. Thinking about it, I can feel how lonely she would be, all of us away at work or at school during the days, my mother alone and frail in her treehouse studio, contemplating the incremental losses that accompany the privilege of growing old. I miss her with an aching I cannot describe. So do her grandchildren, who are mourning the carefree August days they used to spend with her each summer of their childhood and adolescence. We have all decided that we will have to find some days in our busy grown-up summer to re-inhabit that memory, filling her house in St. Lucia with the cacophony of voices and laughter and sprawling bodies, cherishing the time.


  1. Words fail me, but your heart is SO full of love that I am thinking you have had a very wonderful mother.

  2. This makes me hold my breath in wonder.

  3. These are gorgeous photos and I love your sense of continuity how the past pushes forward the sense of family. Lovely.

  4. Elizabeth, she has that effect, lol.

    Rebecca, thank you, my friend, especially for feeling the photos.

  5. It will soon be Mother's Day and I know that your mother, such a special lady, will be celebrated with an abundance of love and respect. Awesome post, my friend. The sweet smile on her face warms my heart.
    Sending love ~

  6. I love Good Mothers. I got one of them too.
    I can tell that you love her to pieces.
    Take care.
    Your Friend, m.

  7. Dearest Angella, go to your mother. You will never regret the flexing of schedules and the juggling of responsibilities if you do, but you will miss the possibility of endless memories if you do not.

    My heart aches for you as you come to terms with your lovely Aunt Winnie's impending transition. My grandmother and her younger sister were the only ones left out of five when my grandma passed away. They were exactly six years apart in age, and I often heard the story about how my aunt was born on my grandma's sixth birthday. My grandmother recalled sitting underneath the dining room table eating all of the candy that was meant for her party while her beloved mother labored in the bedroom. How disconcerting it must have been for a six year old who expects a party and ends up with a baby sister, instead. They were the closest, my Aunt Chippy and my grandma, and even though they lived states apart, they always spoke on the phone every Saturday. Two peas in a pod, those two. I can still hear the laughter that ensued anytime they were together. It was musical.

    Please take care of yourself, dear soul-sister. I know I have been a bit out of touch, but you are never far from my thoughts.

    Big hugs, sweet friend.

  8. Beautiful post. And so timely this week.

  9. gorgeous photographs. the poignancy of her fragility, settled into that fabulous armchair with the austere piping.
    there is such love in your family, angella. it's so inspiring.
    and you'll always have that.

  10. I am going through so much family upheaval and change myself that this almost brought me to my knees.
    I am thinking of your mother in a very warm home-place which is bathed by the by the salty waters which are the same as our tears, our mother's nest in which we grew.
    I think it is of utmost importance for us all to be able to choose where we live, where we die.
    I am thinking of you, Angella. I am loving you and your beautiful mother, too.
    Thank-you SO much for sharing these photos, your heart.

  11. Gabriele, happy mother's day to you, too when it gets here. xo

    Mark, i can tell you are a good one, too!

    Debra W, it really deepens one's sense of family to watch such relationships up close. happy you had that. hugs.

    Tess, i will miss her on mother's day!

    susan t, her smallness in that armchair struck me too. thank you for being her, dear one.

    Ms. Moon, thank you for this. She is happy in that place, she really is. Love to you.

  12. Your first sentence, "There is a sadness that lives beneath my consciousness of being extravagantly blessed" is magnificent. It helped me understand some things in my own life. Thank you.

  13. Thank you, Elizabeth. Truth is, that sentence covers a few things in my life. Do we all live with aching underneath the gratitude? Sadness stalking joy? Is that just the human condition? I don't know. Love to you, my friend.