Once upon a time, there was a woman – beautiful, strong and yet as gentle as a person could be. A woman who was thrown in plenty of tumoil and hard times, of devastating blows and sickness, and yet she bore it all with a kind of quiet perseverance – a kind of endurance and perseverance I did not realize I owned myself until she was gone.
That woman had many names, but I was one of the two who had the privilege to call her a very specific name – mother.
To be honest, I feel like a broken record sometimes. i do feel like I mention my mother quite a lot. I refer to her often in these posts, but then again it makes sense. My mother was a creative force in her own way, she passed onto me the desire to explore and create. Without my mother, I would not be here writing this post, I wouldn’t have created everything you have seen on this blog.
My mother passed away in 2007 – an aneurysm that stole her from us so quickly we could barely process what had actually happened. She was 55, the epitome of gone way too soon. Of all the health problems my mother had at the end of her life, it was almost ironic that it was something that we were unaware of that gor her in the end. Yet at the same time I think about her often, even 8 years after that day. The wound her passing left on me isn’t closed and probably won’t ever be, but I’ve grown used to the pain. Maybe even numb to it, in a sense. It never gets better, but you go on. You survive. You don’t give up.
Yet the moment I went to highlight here is not that moment, but to understand it, you have to understand what kind of woman my mother was. Gentle, sweet, yet strong in a very strange way – especially for someone with the anxiety issues she had dealt with most of her life. It was like there was a little well inside of her, a little switch she could pull in her brain when she really needed it, a little power that made her go though things that would have seemed impossible. She miscarried two children in between my brother and me. My father crashed his car against a tree and for a time, we did not know if he was okay – couldn’t get any information at all. For all we had known at that instant, he could have had died on the spot. Yet in these two hours she was calm in a way that seemed superhuman. She lost her mother and then her father one year after the other. She very nearly lost me twice – once at my birth, and then 15 years later, when my PCOS medication misfired and I nearly hemorrhaged to death.
When the doctor said nothing was off with my blood samples and we needed to leave, she told the doctor, very calmly, that it would be his blood being drawn if he did not wheel me into the ER at this instant, moments before I passed out from blood loss.
My mother was a force of nature, but at the same time very fragile.A very strange contradiction, it seems, but that was how it is. It was only when I was 21, when she passed away, that I realized that I was exactly the same – I had this little well inside me, this little switch in my brain I could pull when I really needed it… I just hadn’t had a reason to need it before then.
Yet she had tried to tell me that I was like this. When I was 17, I was on my first year of post-secondary education. I lived in another town in an apartment during week days, and she worried. She had reasons to worry – I was freshly off anti-depressant for the first time in years as I seemed to be stable enough as my dosage deceased to finally bottom out into not needing it at all. Being out of my toxic high school life helped me immencely but even still, there were chances depression could catch up with me again. It’s a shady monster like that, depression – ready to strike when you are at your weaknest moment. I don’t feel like you can ever be cured of it. It’s always a shadow looming. I knew this, and so did my mother.
It was then that one of my friends from high school took his own life. A bad breakup took him to that extreme. We had lost touch a bit after high school graduation, but it was still a shock to me – and to my mother as well, who had met him plenty of times and cared for him deeply. We went to his funeral together, supported his devastated parents. When his mother took my mother aside for a moment, I thought nothing of it at first. But in truth, my friend’s mother knew me just as well as my mother knew her son. She knew all I had gone though, and she was worried the same would happen to me. My mother reassured her – that I had been off anti-depressant for months and was still followed by a psychiatrist – but whatever else they discussed, it led to what happened next.
We walked back home after the burial. It was a remarkably clear day, a bright blue sky with not a cloud in sight, in spite of the fact that a mother just had to bury her son all too soon. She held my hand all the while, looking up at the sky as we walked. We walked in silence for a moment, but eventually, my mother spoke. In french, of course – my mother barely knew any english, unlike my bother and I, but it went more or less like this.
“Audrey. I want you to promise me something.”
“What ?” I asked, looking at her.
Never give up. Not your life. Never surrender. You are stronger than you know, stronger than you might ever believe that you are. you have weathered so many storms already, and you will weather many more. No matter how dark things get, how hopeless, remember that there will always be someone who loves you. Maybe it is selfish of me to say this, but nothing will kill me more than having to do what she did today.”
And that was what I did. Even after she was gone, I still did exactly just that. Things arn’t always good, and sometimes there are dark storms rocking my life. Some days I feel the old depression monster gnawing at me again. But I hit him with a baseball bat. make sure he’s down for a little while, and carry on.
I promised not to give up, after all.
The bracelet itself came to me very quickly – the moment I got my bead in the mail, I knew which basic design I wanted to go with. I wanted a price I could see, something I could use as a reminder when things get hard. As you might notice, it is asymentrical – the bead sits toward me on my wrist, closed to my eyes, closer to my heart. I broke apart the bigger links from a commercial chain and used jump rings to make a new chain. It was really hard to do that, actually – the metal wasn’t very pliable and none of my pliers could quite cut it. I pondered changing my design, but the bead sat here, reminding me. You can’t give up, remember ? So I found a way. And I did what I wanted. This was my first test drive of a new wire, and I gotta say I quite love it and need more of it. It comes in antique tones, which was one thing that kind of annoyed me with my work – I use mostly antiqued findings, but was stuck with bright wire.
This piece was supposed to be much more complex initially, but any attempt to add more to it didn’t take – didn’t feel right at all. Eventually I decided to stop fighting the piece and just leave it as you see above.
The cause I am supporting is, as you might have guessed – depression and auicide awareness. No one should have to think death is the only way out, and yet too often it is the case. I thought exactly that for a long time, but I want you – all of you who read this – to remember : no matter how dark the storm is, you can weather it. If you need help to weather it, seek it – it is not shameful or weak, like too many seem to believe.
You are beautiful. You are loved. You are a star.
Never give up.
Well, this actually was the hardest part of the process, and kudos for making your way though that rather impressive wall of text. Please go see all the other pieces in the art of awareness blog hop, and as a thank you for getting to here and to hopefully put a smite back on your face after this pretty heavy matter, have some Feline Assistance In Photography :