Tuesday, April 5, 2016

March Pages





my mother died a few weeks ago...
gentle reader..
and
Immediately following the news, I sprained my wrist.. 
Yes, THAT wrist and so ...
unable to write, legibly ..draw with dexterity or type quickly,
 I was forced to sit and marinate in my feelings..


many of you know that my mother was an alcoholic..








 before you get all boo hoo-y on me, 
let me tell you, that
My mother and I had been estranged since 1994
It was my choice..
to simply hang up on her..
disconnecting from the chaos of alcoholism ...

a truth for me is that it is always easier to love someone unconditionally
when they are not in your physical experience..









My maternal family had a bipolar and alcoholic history..

Fortunately
My father's family was our sanctuary, 
they still, to this day do not understand what a haven, (a heaven really) they provided.. 
Safety, security, food, play and above all ...love. 
Without them, I am sure I would be a very different person than the woman I am today. 
the other thing that they provided us with was
 contrast... 
 we understood at least unconsciously that not all mothers forgot to feed children,
  beat them, verbally abused them or failed to protect them.







It was years ago in therapy that I realized
that I intensely disliked butterflies and dragonflies..
I thought they were..
creepy
when a memory resurfaced...


the grade school science lab that I attended
 had several butterfly and bug specimens
and I remember just hating those collections...

you see...
  I identified with those tiny winged creatures
pinned to boards..
 their lack of freedom..
such fragile beings..





ingredients: paper ephemera, pencil, walnut ink, acrylic paint, colored pencils, tissue paper, safety pins, pen and ink, gel medium, gold leaf 
note: butterfly wings are hand drawn on tissue paper, with colored pencil, pen and ink and gold leaf.





If you have read my blog for any length of time,
you will know that
 freedom is often a reoccurring theme in my work... 

for me,
freedom and forgiveness are linked..


Forgiveness is a verb,
 it is active in my life.. because memories are triggered by the most insignificant things..
smells, words, sayings..
and forgiveness
it is a gift
 I give to myself.........
 It heals from the inside out
and I believe it is imperative in order to live a healthy life...
I think that without forgiveness, one cannot truly know freedom...


As always I am heartily grateful
 to you for your kind readership..


xo



52 comments:

Corrine at corrinegilman.com said...

I cannot relate to your family dynamic but I know through reading you over the years that you have darks and bright lights and that each day you move ahead, into the beautiful soul you are. Sorry for the loss, even though it's a difficult one. xox

Irene Rafael said...

I commented on Facebook before reading your post here on your blog. I am moved by your sharing, your strength and courage. I believe in change, healing and in the indomitable human heart. I believe it takes courage to share our deepest self as you did here.

lana kloch said...

thank you for sharing your rich life... yes..rich! you have made choices that better ensure that the quality you live is positive..

through your hard word and difficult decision making you create a positive environment in which you can blossom..

it wasn't until i was told that my mother didn't love me, that i stopped trying to obtain her approval.. that knowledge set me free...

i avoid toxic people like the plaque and surround myself with people who enhance my life and, i hope, i do theirs..

caterina..your art work and poetry have embraced me and shape me... and i am better for it...

please continue on this journey ..i will be beside you ..

love you

Joanne S said...

I lived that life. And I, too, said farewell to my mother years before she died. My family still harbors resentment of my decision. So, I lost my mother and then father and brothers as well. It hurts but I had to protect myself, above all others.

Dorthe said...

Oh my dear heart Cat,
The farewell to ones mother, is still , even when having had an unloved and not cared for childhood ,a farewell to one of the two people creating you,-- and with your luggage of a sad and hard childhood, I can imagine it is a relieve ,but also maybe still a loss of what could have been ,but never was.
I did not read of this before, and I am so sad, and also angry on your behalf .
You have come a long way ,in living with these memories, being able to let them go, and maybe even to forgive in some kind of way, to be able living, without too much fear, of still ,"meeting" all the hurting memories, in your daily life,-- but to feel free, and happy.

I hope your wrist is all well again, and send you loving thoughts.
Hugs from Dorthe

Kim Collister said...

Caterina,
Sadly I can relate because children of alcoholics all live very similar lives. My father was a very talented artist and educated man and he chose to drink his life away and keep our family under a dark cloud of fear. I am a survivor because I moved away as soon as I graduated and married my husband ( still). My mother neither drank nor smoked but she spent her life managing my father's alcoholism. My husband's mother and father were God sent to me. I forgave my father and chose not to look back. My whole journey made me the person I am today. I am the Hero of my story and so are you!! I am actually working on an art piece that reflects those words because I believe it with my whole heart. I am grateful for all the Heroes like you along my path. Much Love to you Caterina!! Xoxo

Kathleen said...

A wise spiritual director I had years ago told me a woman cannot be her full self until her mother dies. I found that very sad but also very true. Your vulnerability is a blessing and an inspiration to me. Sending prayers for you and yours. xoxo

Kim Collister said...

Wow, Kathleen, I had never heard that before but it is so true.
Blessings to you!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

It sounds like the sprained wrist was definitely the Universe's way of having you fully embrace what happened. I hope it is much better now. Very true that forgiveness is freedom. I have my own family dysfunction but never took on the role of victim. I am free in knowing that all that happened had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the instability and weaknesses of others. Sending love and light your way.

Ingrid Dijkers said...

I am very touched by this post and the accompanying collage. Thank you for sharing!

Gail Pierce said...

As you know my mother passed last week . . . I was blessed to have the complete opposite of your mother . . . over the last few days I got to thinking about the mothers many have had and for some reason it hit me that perhaps you weren't as blessed as I was. I can't even imagine what you went through but during the few years I've come to know you a little, what I see is a woman full of grace and your art shows the brave and wise woman you've become in spite of or perhaps because of your history. Freedom and love pour from your work!
xoxo

Caterina Giglio said...

Corrine, I am so glad to know that you cannot relate to my situation at all! I think that is great, and thanks for understanding, and your support for so long! xox

Caterina Giglio said...

Irene, thank you so much, I have to admit, though it has not been a secret on my blog, I have never shared so deeply here either, thanks for the support! And thanks for stopping by! x

Caterina Giglio said...

Oh, Lana, thank you for sharing so deeply with me... I completely agree about releasing toxicity in our lives and just moving forward. How difficult it must have been for you to discover that your Mother did not love you. I cannot imagine how hard that was. My heart goes out to you and to your courage to move on and let her go. We are brave women who learned to mother ourselves, yes? Thank you always for your love and support and I hope you feel the same love from me to you... xox

Caterina Giglio said...

Oh Joanne, I am very sorry to hear that we have that in common as well... there is such polarization in dysfunction and I am hoping that siblings will in time forgive me for my choice, but if not, I do understand. Thanks for leaving a comment, and sharing so deeply, I appreciate it so much. It is great to know that I am in good company... self preservation is a beautiful thing... :D

Caterina Giglio said...

Hi Dorthe,
I thought that you knew about my mother, and I am sorry that you found out like this, all at once in a post, it is a lot to absorb. Yes, it is a sense of loss, but just the reminder that what I wanted ... a loving mother was never going to happen, so allowing that to pass was the hardest part. I feel that we are both free and I can love her more, now that she is resting in peace. Thank you for your kind love and support. You are such a dear friend! xoxox

Caterina Giglio said...

Hi Kim,
Oh, my! and to think I agonized about revealing too much in this post and whether or not to write it! I wrote it 3 times and kept editing. You will understand that ... I am sure. My mother was a gifted pianist, and eventually married another alcoholic, so that was when I dropped out of her life completely.
You are right, we are the heroines of our stories and courageous to get through it and to see that we can live life differently, beautifully, artfully and lovely!
So happy that we connected and can share together!
Sending much love back to you dear heart! xoxo

Caterina Giglio said...

Kathleen, I have heard something similar to that, about how we become adults only when our parents die. That it is an initiation of life ... thank you for reminding me of that, and so true. Thanks also for stopping by and always leaving such kind and loving remarks. Your support is so appreciated. xox

Caterina Giglio said...

Oh Tammy!!
The minute I sprained it, I thought, "well I know what this is about!" and yes, it was a bit of a struggle at first until I just went with it and started to really just BE with my thoughts and my emotions. It was great, but so happy the wrist is now healed!! Thanks for commenting and always stopping by. I so appreciate it! hugs to you! xx

Caterina Giglio said...

Thank you so much Ingrid, that means a lot!

Caterina Giglio said...

Dear Gail,
Yes I do remember and I thought about sharing with you on your post, but your relationship with your mom was so lovely and wonderful and I wanted you to know how inspirational you have been to me. Your love and kindness shines through even though you have had so much responsibility.
Thanks for understanding and your kind words mean so much to me. Sending you much love and big hugs!
xoxox

Deb said...

Caterina - I can so relate to your story. My mother wasn't an alcoholic, but she was mean, selfish and cold. It took years of adulthood before I decided to stop pretending otherwise and decided to remove myself from her toxic personality. I, too, had a family that showed me a better way - showed love and kindness and that I could make a choice to be like them. I am forever grateful for their love and the safety I felt when I was with them.

I also know that all those sad memories surface when the mother that wasn't what we needed dies. Your lovely art is a wonderful way to celebrate the better life you've made of and for yourself.

lynne h said...

beautiful, my dear cat...

xoxo

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'm not exactly sure where to begin here, but I, like you, had a mother who only caused pain and misery. Thankfully, my grandparents raised me from birth, so I only saw my mother four times in my life that I remember. Each time was traumatic. When I was about to enter my senior year in high school, she remarried (her 5th husband although there were many men she lived with) a wonderful man who wanted to adopt me and take me to their home. I refused, because I was not about to give up the security of my grandparents for something that might or might not be a good deal for me. Like your father's family, my grandparents were my salvation. I would have been a far different individual had I been raised by my mother. So, I applaud you, even though it was probably more painful for you than for me, since I distanced myself from my mother early in life due to her treatment of me each time she visited. Regardless, I know there are feelings there. Maybe not tears (I had none when my mother died), but feelings, anyway.

The butterflies are beautiful, but the freedom you feel with your always positive blog posts show through. I am truly in awe of you and your wonderful spirit. BTW, I hope your sprain is better and you had time to reflect while it was healing.

Suzi Smith said...

Aaah Cat... this is so touching. ((hugs)) The butterfly in you flies freely now & she flies out of her alcoholic prison. People are so much more than the earthly incarnation aren't they/we? I'm sure your forgiveness helps past & future generations too, as well as yourself. Such a beautiful piece...

{my father died a few weeks ago... we were estranged for many years. I chose to stay away rather than not be myself subjected to his attitudes, control not alcoholism, but the forgiveness is a big thing for me too... xoxo}

so much love...

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

i very deeply appreciate your honesty
Thank You

Pamela Gerard said...

I don't really know your history but it seems you are living a beautiful life now. As someone above wrote, I left home the second I could and made my own life. The past is over and it can't hurt you. Let it go and embrace happiness and freedom -- and, of course, art. You make beautiful pages and live in the light.

Sharmon Davidson said...

Cat, when I saw the image on facebook, it struck me as very sad, in a way that seemed beyond its face value, if you know what I mean. Now I see why. Your beautiful pages communicate so well without words. And you are so right, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself; resentment is like a poison. Personally, I find it much easier to forgive others than to forgive myself. I know that losing a parent is difficult, even if you were estranged, and my heart is with you. xoxo

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

None of this has been easy...forgiveness on all sides but when you were little it is nice to know there were kind hearts nearby. The gift of grace is in your lovely art...blessings.

Niko said...

Thank you to you and your commenters for your courage and honesty in all your beautifully expressed reflactions. You have dealt with family difficulties with such grace, and it shows in your art. Thank you for sharing with us.

Seth said...

You honesty and vulnerability is so special Cat -- and these qualities are part of what make your artwork so moving to so many. Thank you for sharing your story -- and for being you.

Caterina Giglio said...

Hi Deb,
I am saddened to learn that your Mother was so cold and distant, and glad that you too found a sanctuary ... I think I felt relief and a sense of ease when I learned that she had died. I feel that she is a free butterfly too.. released from her disease.... at least I pray she is. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a heart felt comment...

Caterina Giglio said...

Hi Lynne, thank you so much... xoxo

Caterina Giglio said...

E, I am so glad to know that your grandparents were there for you... it is wonderful to have safety in childhood but what a difficult choice for you to have to make. I imagine you would do it all over again, as would I. Self protection is so powerful.
Glad you like the tissue butterflies, I am in love with them and the safety pins...
As for feelings, I did not feel sad or bad, I felt a sense of relief and freedom, and I hope that she is resting well in peace. Thank you for sharing your story with me, I have been overwhelmed by the reaction here and on FaceBook which I know you do not use. I feel very glad I had the courage to post it...
Thanks always for your support.. x

Caterina Giglio said...

Yes, Suzi, that is so true, that she flies free as well.... I hope she is resting in peace and can now feel my love and gratitude for giving me life. I am touched to hear of your fathers transition and your choice to walk away from his control, a drug similar to alcoholism in my humble opinion, and just as stifling ... yes forgiveness is so important, it is a circle I think ... love is for -giving and love is for-getting .. I can just imagine you making something beautiful of that..
Thank you for sharing your story too, it touches my heart, dear friend ...xox

Caterina Giglio said...

Thank you, so much, Grace...

Caterina Giglio said...

Hi Pamela,
You are so right! I did the work long ago, as I mentioned ...I did therapy and had some wonderful classes, I was prepared to face her death, and to release her and send her on her way to peace. Life is good! Glad you liked the pages... I loved the wings.. x

Caterina Giglio said...

Sharon, isn't that the truth, self forgiveness is one of those things that many of us are still working on. I am getting better at it! You are so perceptive to pick up on the sorrow. I didn't realize the significance of the safety pins until later and that made me smile.. xoxo

Caterina Giglio said...

Mary Ann, you are so right, about forgiveness on all sides, some people can see a greater truth, and some cannot, I had to forgive myself for so much... thanks for your kindness and you continued support...

Caterina Giglio said...

Thank you Niko, for your kind comment and for stopping by the blog, I so appreciate it... :)

Caterina Giglio said...

Thanks Seth, it was agony writing it, but I am very glad I did.. : )

*jean* said...

oh my dearest, another link shared...i'm sorry for your mother that she lost such a gem...take good care, and keep your wings free...xoxo

Caterina Giglio said...

Jean, you make me cry, what a sweet thing to say... I was so sad for both of us for so long....
but I am flying free ... and thank you, dear heart! xoxo

Kim Henkel said...

Your butterflies are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing them and this difficult story. You are courageous and a shining light. xo

Caterina Giglio said...

Kim, thank you so much, I so appreciate that encouragement! xo

Fiona Dempster said...

Thank you Cat for sharing, mothers are so important in our.ives, in so many different ways. I am so glad that your paternal family offered you so much goodness, and I like where the butterflies are leading you...

Caterina Giglio said...

Fiona, thank you so much, I like it very much as well, thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment..

Suzanne Wohlfeld said...

How wonderful that finally you are able to embrace the butterfly! I too, was estranged from my mother for the same reasons. I left home at 11 but found a whole new life with my father after that. When she died I was not as sad as much as feeling free. Her passing helped me to let go of the frozen Ness I felt towards her for years. I van now say that I loved her and forgive her because she was sick, since she no longer has the power to hurt. Bless you on your journey dear cat. Thank you for sharing!

Suzanne Wohlfeld said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~*~Patty S said...

Dear Cat ~
Words can often feel flimsy at times like these.

This is a favorite blessing of mine.

May the long time sun shine upon you
All Love surround you
and the pure Light within you
Guide your way on ♥

Thinking of you and sending Peace * Love and Light
oxo

deannawelch19@gmail.com said...

Whew. Bet this one was tough, but I can see the freedom it has provided and will continue to provide. Proud of you!

Laura said...

Thank you Cat for spreading your fragile butterfly wings and allowing us to be part of the healing light your beautiful soul shines ever so brightly… In my experience it is possible for wisdom to grow from every challenge, as do kindness, compassion, forgiveness, creativity and healing. May you experience blessing through this ongoing process of expression and healing.

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