My Mother died this year, so this is my first Mother’s day without her. Since she died I’ve been expecting moments when the ‘grief‘ caught up to me. Instead something rather unexpected has happened. Up in the mountains while hiking, I’ve had moments of wonderment, epiphany, a wholesome feeling of ‘Mother’, creator and artist…bringing me to tears.
It’s nothing new to me that my creative spirit comes from my maternal side. That’s why my pen name is Conlon. My siblings often compare me to my uncle on my dad’s side, an Optometrist who wrote some articles in a small town newspaper in the 50s, and thus is considered a ‘writer’. There’s also my paternal grandfather who wrote a memoir as an immigrant; he worked as a high school custodian. Nonfiction writers. But I’ve always known my creative writing came from my Irish side.
My Mother was an artist, dancer and school teacher. Her mother was a secretary who wrote poems and didn’t marry until age 36, in the 1920s. My Mother turned down a dancing career with the Arthur Murray Studios in New York and went on to marry my father, a disabled World War Two veteran who couldn’t dance. Somehow, even at my Mother’s funeral, my siblings still didn’t seem to get that the artist and creator was our Mother. They always look to the paternal side for what ‘runs in the family’. They don’t get me…the path I followed.
None of that matters I suppose. I’m left with feelings of wonderment instead of moments of grief. The arts live in me, and I’ve always seen myself as a placeholder for them in my family, waiting for others to wake up to the wonderment, to stop thinking of me as a ‘schizophrenic’ or demented guy and dance the forgotten dance.
The feelings of wonderment make so much sense because that is what my Mother instilled in me.