The GIFT: How my Image Quest Journal Tending Prepared Me for My Mother’s Passing.

The GIFT: How my Image Quest Journal Tending Prepared Me for My Mother’s Passing.

Image by Sarah Gutz

When I started using the powerful words

REALIGN, RE-STORY, RENEW on my

newsletter banner,  I had no idea what I was

in for.  I thought that this message was for my participants!

But, we gravitate towards, and teach, the very things we, ourselves are hungry for. 

So, I am moved to share with you the transformation
and some of the “ah ha’s” that have happened
for me, directly related to my
Image Quest Sojourn journal tending.  

My groups and I work with personal images from our past,

present and future to understand how the images that activate our body

effect the way we engage the world.  

My journal is my companion.  It playsa  vital role in giving

me insight and direction.  But a year or more before my mother passed away, it prepared me for my

mother’s death.

I am still in awe.

In April 2014, my 83 yr young Mom, nicknamed “Sing”, unexpectedly passed away.

A year or two before her death I had been experiencing deep insight into my relationship with my Mother, solely

through my Image Quest Journal work, without the need to communicate this to her directly.  

Far Right; my mother ‘Sing’, posing with her siblings.
Mom kept showing up in my pages.  It was curious to me that she was the one I consistently was drawn to.  The story goes that when I was born my mom and my 12 month old sister both had pink eye.  Mom was not allowed to hold me or take me home.  I spent the first two weeks of my life in the hospital with nurses to care for me.  Between that and my sister, who was still a baby herself, we never did bond.
 On one page my mother emerged as an early teen, on another as a new bride, on another, as a young child.

Other spreads reflected back stories that she had told us while growing up.  Sayings like, “Remember girls, you have more royal blood than the queen of England.”  What is a little girl supposed to do with that?

Then through random layering of  images, my journal began to show me how I  would feel when Mom died.

The rest of the story:

My journal was thick with layers of imagery.  I had been working on it for over a year.  One day I  took clear acetate and a black sharpie and drew a simple, round container with a lid; one I’d been attracted to that I saw in a magazine.  In the magazine it was a ‘ginger jar”.

Then, as an experiment, I held it over every journal page to see how it felt, or related to, the existing images on the page; to see if it wanted to be there; to see if it “felt right”.

Mom, “Sing” 14 Years Old
These pages had been created many months before Mom died.

 

When it came to Mom’s image at 14 the ‘ginger jar’ overlay
became an ‘urn’.  Suddenly, in my body it felt as if she’d died at 14, leaving the future void of my life, my siblings, my
children and grand children. New appreciation for my mother welled
up in my bones, unfamiliar and raw.
When the ‘urn’ reached the page with Mom as a young bride, suddenly, I knew how I would feel when she did die.  I had always
wondered, and now I knew.  I realized that, it wasn’t too late for us to bond with one another.  It was up to me and never again would I allow our relationship to be distant.
In the same spread, I worked with some writing about my grandmother, Nanny’s  “Silver Service Set” that documents a
cousin going to London and buying it for her, right out of a London vault around 1910.
 Sadly, after “Nanny’s”  death, ongoing quarrels over ‘who got the Silver Service Set’ became a lasting wedge between Mom and her sister.
As I worked the page with layers of color, I remembered the pain and angry words between them.   I knew that I would try my best to never let this happen between my three sisters and I when the day came that we lost our mother.

My Last Road Trip with Mom

On March 15, I flew to Texas and took an East Texas road trip with Mom.
We made many stops on our way to her high school reunion and back again. I told her she had been showing up in my journal and what I had decided about our relationship.  We  laughed, we cried,
 we reminisced and told our sorries.  The day I flew back to California her body unexpectedly shut down, she was flown to
 the ICU.  She was not to come back home.
My Image Quest Sojourn work changed my future with Mom.  It changed how our relationship would be for that
short time that we had left. It changed our story going forward, even after her death.
Mom and I got our long deserved quality time.  We decided our east Texas road trip gave us back part of the time I was left in the hospital at birth.
 I felt like she and I were in a state of grace.  I was prepared for her passing.
Life is a rich mystery. My changing family has become more and more
 precious with life’s ongoing cycle of birth, death, marriages, birth and death…
Mom's bones; sifted from her ashes.
Mom’s bones; sifted from her ashes.
I am ever grateful that my visual journaling practice allows me to REALIGN, RE-STORY AND RENEW.
Art making as my emotional and soul-filled tool for balance and well
being.
My wish for YOU is to
REALIGN, RE-STORY, RENEW… Make Art!
 If your ready for a new way to Re Story  your world join
 Image Quest Sojourn Course
Love, Pamela

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