Sweet Sorrow

Ripe red strawberries, delicately patterned china cups, and a spread of sweets and small sandwiches fit for a queen. The table could not have been better set for a meeting of sketchers eager for camaraderie and a few hours of painting.

Out of the winter…out of my life…these hours spent in focused creativity stand starkly against the backdrop of my mother’s move this week to a nursing home. She—no longer able to hang on in her home in New York; me—sketching tea in Connecticut. Inexcusably incongruous…but there it is: a daughter’s respite and sadness contained in a few strokes of paint and bitter lemon. Sweet sorrow.SketchersTea_013116

25 Comments on “Sweet Sorrow

  1. Sorry to hear of the sadness ~ and wishing you a comforting visit with your mom in NY. Your journal is a space to have a respite and helps heal. Hugs

  2. Safe travels, Jean – may your visit bring joy for you and your Mum. I like your expression “parking” emotions by journaling. Hugs.

  3. Jean, I had to go through this last year at this time with my mom. As a nurse, I keep one phrase in mind…she is safe. It helps a little.

    • You are right Judy– it will work out. I just never thought we’d get to this point and I’ve got to rethink my old stereotypes about nursing homes and aging.

  4. Oh Jean, this piece is lovely. Sending warm hugs for a safe trip and wonderful visit with your mom. Thinking of you and your family. Xo

  5. What a beautiful bittersweet sketch. Though you may have been sad when you did this what comes through is warmth and hopefulness. Kind thoughts.

  6. Jean, I went through this transition last year with my own mother. It saddens me to read your description of your sketch outing set against your mother’s move as “inexcusably incongruous.” Incongruous…okay, but inexcusable…not okay. If we are to help our parents, and ourselves, through such difficult changes with love and grace, we need to be able to recognize and appreciate moments of beauty when they come, to express ourselves in a healing way, and to embrace the gifts of rest and rejuvenation. There is nothing inexcusable about doing all of those things in the few hours you spent with your friends, and I hope your visit with your mom will be all the better for it.

    • I hear you! And that word gave me pause…which is good. But at the time, I felt helpless and far away. I agree with you–and appreciate being called on it.– we do need to take and appreciate the many moments of beauty when they come.

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