She’s In Me
(New series — work in progress)
After a journey to the east coast to attend my daughter’s college graduation I landed at JFK airport to discover my mother had been admitted to the hospital. As I went through her things in her NY studio well aware that she would likely never get back to her city or her apartment, I started feeling a very strange sense that I was becoming her. I looked at my body and I could see my mother’s form. I could feel that as her health was declining and she was slipping further and further away it was as if she was depositing pieces of herself inside of me, my body that looks just like hers, my psyche my soul and my personality. At 4 am unable to sleep, I picked up my needle and colored thread and began to sew on photographs of my childhood. One photograph is an image of my mother pregnant with me and as I stitched various shades of pink yarn onto her belly the words “she’s in me” echoed in my head. It did not only refer to the obvious fact that I was in her belly, but that she too was inside of me and that this connection between us flowed both ways.
As my mother’s health declined the doctors informed us that she was not going to get any better, and a collective decision was made to move her back home into Hospice care where she could be comfortable in the nest she loves surrounded by the people who love her most. This was a slow unfold, and a shock to my system, and the only solace I found each day through every doctor conference call and video call with my mother was silently weaving us together atop these childhood memories. The property I was staying on in the country had acres of land with my favorite flower, purple lilacs, growing freely. Lilacs were also my grandmother’s favorite flower. As I stitched various shades of purple and lavender onto a photograph of my mother’s mother I could feel the threads of this ancestral connection running deep. This series of altered images “She’s In Me” is a tribute to my beautiful mother, the life I have lived with her and to the deep connection that has been handed down from generation to generation and gently woven together.