“Unidentified Artist”

Detail from “Pieta” by an unknown artist, circa 1470, School of Avignon, France.

My mother isn’t doing well. Despite pain meds and massages and ice packs and the tender, loving care she receives from her long-term-care facility’s excellent staff, she suffers. She weeps. She’s horribly confused. Sometimes she’ll tell me about her conversations with my father (he died in 2010); sometimes she perseverates, “Who’s taking care of him? He’s over a hundred, you know.”!

For most of my life I’ve had a complicated, fraught relationship with my beautiful and brilliant and, until late in her life, unrealized mother. “You know,” she told me years ago; she might have been drinking.”You should have been my mother.” Over time I came to understand why this crazy-weird impossibility was so tragically true. Therapy helped. Al-Anon helped. Having four daughters of my own helped. Getting older—both of us—helped. And for the past three years, being able to drive fifteen minutes to visit her in her private, sunny room surrounded by her own paintings and photographs and books helps. That she receives meds to ease her lifelong anxiety and depression helps. (She pays a pretty penny for this care; an obscenely huge amount. Which she can afford. Until she won’t.)

Yet even on the best of visits, when we’ve “walked” along wheelchair accessible pathways to see how the community gardens’ tomatoes fare, or strolled down to a lovely, little pond to watch turtles and fish and, sometimes, a blue heron; even then, I’d come home and take a nap!

So, last night, worried about her and wiped out by another too-hot, terrifyingly unseasonal day, I lay on my bed, AC valiantly chugging along, and, headphones on, listened to music. I didn’t curate my selections; I just listened to what I love. (Or so I thought.) Like Maria Callas’s “Casta Diva.” Or Faure’s “Requiem” which, the first time I heard it, on my car radio on the way to work, triggered a peak religious experience. Yes, triggered. For having just experienced The Whole, That Which Is Beyond Words, Spirit’s Transcendent Love, all I could think of was “Well, this is highly inconvenient! Right here on Mass Av in Porter Square? Couldn’t I have been in a forest?”

Oh, right, I realized, listening to Faure’s gorgeous mass. Requiem! Ummm, as in death? As in my mother’s tears of pain, certainly, but also her tears of shame and sadness that she’s so helpless and weak; as in her dim understanding of what, possibly, is happening to her? As in, perhaps, that the veil between the living and the dead begins to thin for her; she’s catching glimpses of what I cannot see? Like my father? As in that I am in mourning for my beautiful and brilliant and realized mother; I am in mourning for a Mother Earth who is much too hot, now. (Jeez.)

And that, again, mysteriously, an Unidentified Artist some call Spirit loved me, guided me.








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  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hello, there, Patricia, my so, so very For Always awesomely precious and dearly special soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker woman who you’re FOR ALWAYS so, so very much!!!!!!!!! 😊❤!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! WOW here!!!!!! I’m just so,so very moved and touched in my very heart and spirit, and, oh, how I and we are very honored and blessed by your sweetly open, engaging, and endearing sharing here on your precious and darling Mom. Oh, how I so love your sharing here-YOU’VE just gone straight to my very heart and spirit as I can definitely relate to how you had a fraught relationship with your Mom as I did with my late mother. I know that my late mother loved and cared about me in her own twisted way but she was a very difficult and problematic woman being very controlling, domineering, abusive in every way,aggressive, alcoholic and addict, not allowing me to be my own person and having my own identity trying to force me to be her clone!!!!!! My very heart aches for your beloved Mom not doing so well yet I’m glad that se can afford the very best of nurturing and professional care. I’m praying so hard and so much for wonderful Mom of yours, sisterfriend Patricia!!!!! I remembered that your awesome Dad died in 2010 I think in the month of October if I’m remembering correctly? Me, too, sistah!!!!!! I had that off center role reversal thing going on with my mother. I, too, am a long-time member of Al-Anon since Monday, December 1, 1986 and their Adult Children of Alcoholics as well and the other Adult Children of Alcoholics. I’ve been in therapy/psychiatric for decades also which has immensely helped and blessed me!!!!!! It is because of Al-Anon that I made my way eventually to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous being clean and sober for 28 years since Sunday, August 5, 1990! I thought that since I didn’t drink the same quantities of alcoholic beverages and since I’d go on the wagon a lot that it was only my family who are the alcoholics but somehow precious Al-Anon led me to AA and NA! Oh, how I can so relate to the trauma and difficulties you had with your beloved Mom!!!!!! My mother very abusively wouldn’t let me be my own person. I’m learning to embrace my some physical resemblance to her which has been difficult for me! I completely understand how and why you need a nap after visiting with her-this is much work here on all sorts of levels as you love her so, so very much but it can bring up a lot of stuff! What a sheer and joyous delight and blessing here as you received some much deserved and needed rest and relaxation with the refreshing air conditioning on listening to such grandly beautiful music. AWWWW, oh, how I just so, so very much love, enjoy, and appreciate how you very graciously and generously share with all of us what you listened to by featuring and including these marvelous links here!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!! WOW here!!!!!!! Oh, how deliciously serene is Maria Callas’s, “Casta Diva.” How church-like and magnificent is Faure’s, “Requiem.” Oh, how I so enjoyed and relished in listening to these majestic works again-I’ve heard these before!!!!!! I thank-YOU so, so much for sharing these great links to glorious music here, sistahfriend! I can see why you had such a transformational, transcendent experience of Spirit’s Indwelling Love here! I remember with such blessed joy how you earnestly shared about Transformational, Transcendent Love before, my dear, dearest, darling, precious friend, Patricia! My very heart and spirit with my very whole heart and love are with YOU as you murn your splendid Mom with her inevitable passing being imminent, sister. How you continue with words of such eloquence, excellence, radiance, and brilliance to aptly share and declare that you are mourning for our Mother Earth, blazingly too hot right now. Me, too, sisterfriend!!!!! How spectacular are your concluding words here as You feel from the unknown artist of this lovely work of art that Spirit loves you and calls to you! Me, too, sistahfriend! This title is very fitting and applicable with such a perfect, picture-perfect, compelling picture accompanying it all in all accenting and complementing the entirety of,this awe-inspiring blog post article to the very heights of perfection!!!!!!! Patricia, YOU ARE just so, so very absolutely BRILLIANT and AWESOME!!!!!!!!! YOU ARE FOR ALWAYS such a joy and a blessing!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! YAY for YOU, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!!! YAY for our very sistahhood and friendship, Patricia!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! YAY!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!!!! YOU ARE my very life’s and eternal joy and blessing FOR ALWAYS, Patricia!!!!!!!!! 😊💓!!!!!! I love and cherish you so, so very much FOR ALWAYS, Patricia!!!!!!! 😊❤!!!!!! God so, so very much loves and cherishes you A WHOLE LOT AND A WHOLE BUNCH FOR ALWAYS, Patricia, AND SO DO I, TOO, LOVE AND CHERISH YOU SO, SO VERY FOR ALWAYS, my darling friend and sistah!!!!!!😊❤!!!!!!!! Please have such a superbly super Sunday, such a wondrously wonderful rest of your weekend and week ahead, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed!!!!!!!! YOU ARE are just the very greatest and the very best, Patricia!!!!!!!😃💓!!!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely FOR ALWAYS, my so, so very FOR ALWAYS awesomely special and dearly precious soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker white woman who you’re FOR ALWAYS so, so very much, Patricia, sisterfriend of mine, with My and God’s VERY PEACE AND LOVE FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, sister of mine, AND WITH SUCH BLESSINGS AND SUCH VERY EVEN MORE BLESSINGS FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, friend of mine, 😃💓!!!!!!

    YOURS FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend Christian black woman AND FOR ALWAYS in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa. 😊💓!!!!!!!

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