Transitioning from this life


Inks and gesso on gesso textured w/c paper, 10 X 11″

below the belt he slips it in
and my energy leaks out
into some soup where all thoughts go
to the business of comprehending
what does it mean
this, here today and gone tomorrow?

the one person left on earth
who has been there from
(my) beginning is waiting
to catch the boat across
and take the secret with her

i watch as she gets smaller and smaller
becomes a child again
now a baby curled up
with toes planted firmly

in those dreams floating
in the world underneath the mind
in the same dark and shiny cave as this elf
a Dobby with red eyes

he packs magic in his bag
but even he cannot predict
the exact moment when dear Ellen
will catch her boat

Have you guessed?  My mother is transitioning from this life, taken to her bed, not likely to rise again.  It feels BIG.  Not sad.  She’s a wise and wonderful 93.  Just BIG as in mysterious and requiring full attention.  Art helps.  It always does.  It meets the numinous on its own ground through metaphor and meaning, which is just out of reach of the logical mind, where it should be.



  1. Blessings and peace to temper the sorrow. It is very big when your mother passes. An un-mooring occurs, you are set adrift and the shore you anchored to is no more. My mom passed in 2001. I will be chanting for you and your mother… Love, Shawna


  2. Susan, I read your every entry but just had to stop by this time with a comment. Your poem and art hit home in a BIG way. Thanks for sharing and may be all be adrift together as we enter this new chapter of our lives and hopefully one day carry the answers to the next shore as well.


  3. I lost my mother this year, just 2 days before her 93rd birthday. Your beautiful poem expresses so beautifully this transition. May you find comfort in yourself and among those close to you. I am grateful that you can share this experience and your feelings so freely. Peace to you and your family.


  4. Dear Susan: What a beautiful poem; I don’t know if your way with words or art can be compared as more beautiful than the other………if you need to talk……I will be happy to be with you as we share mothers who are in transitions. Mine had a bout of pneumonia right before Thanksgiving. She has recovered 8 of the 10 steps if you will to what she was before; her mind definitely slipped a few notches and she seems more childlike to me. It was scary and seemed like she might not recover at all and at that point we all became very philosophical. In any case, I am sorry and would love to be with you at some point if that feels right…….. Judy

    Judyand Rick


  5. Thank you for your beautiful poem and painting. This passage from life to death is something primal, esp when it’s a mom. I agree, it is a spiritual time, please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.


  6. Hello Susan: My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am a Canadian artist, living and painting in the beautiful city of Victoria. i have admired your art ever since I found your blog site. And what wonderful words you have as well to go along with your lovely work!


  7. So beautifully expressed, in word and image, Susan. Having passed through this in-between space, I keep you in thought and prayer. May the peace of the season be with you always.


  8. I am quite overcome with the outpouring of love and support here. Such exquisitely wise and heart felt sharing. . . I almost didn’t post this because I didn’t want to activate the sorrow of others. But here I see only my own self reflected back, beautifully. Thank you all!


  9. Hi Susan! I translate your words to swedish, so I understand your words better…. You write so beautiful and emotional. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. I was thinking of My mom… To be 93 is admirable. ( I don’t know if I choosing the right words now.) My mom was 77, and I miss her so. Her mom was 96… Sending my thoughts to you and your mom. Best regard /Lola


  10. Susan, I am sorry for your loss. You and your mother had a long time on earth together. As she has caught her boat, you will find that you have an earthly boat all your own here that you will occupy in her absence. From one who lost her mother over a decade ago, I hope you experience along with your loss a sense of freedom that only adds to your creative spirit. See you Saturday.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s