Monday, August 6, 2012

Goddesses in the Dust: Memories of My Mother

Unearthing the Divine Feminine, one archetype at a time...
Taking my first steps at a park in Torino, Italy 

Twenty years ago today, my mother passed away. It's hard to believe two decades of life have been lived since that time, a whole era which saw my own children growing up - children she barely had a chance to know - an entire span of life lived without my mother there to love and share it with.

Even though she died too soon, she lived a very full life. One of my favorite experiences was when my mom came to work on our excavation in Ithaka, Greece. We had been digging for weeks and mom planned to join me at the end of the season; however a TWA jet had been hijacked and the State Department warned against travel to Greece. Braving the odds, my mom came anyway, flying into the neighboring island airport, where I had planned to pick her up. To get there in time for her arrival, I arose early in the morning and boarded the ferry to Kefalonia, then took a cab across the mountain range to the small airport.


We rode in the taxi back over the mountains to the port, stopping the driver when we saw a field of lavender, to gather an armload of the flowers for our room. The next ferry wasn't until nighttime, so I had arranged with a local fisherman to take us in his skiff across the straights between the islands. A smelly fishing boat was not the most elegant welcome to Ithaka, as the waves slapped against the hull, knocking her luggage - and us - around. A friend met us at the small port with a pick up truck. She drove us over the central ridge of the island and back to the little town where the team was staying. With the tiny hotel full, some team members had to stay with local families and mom and I settled into a room in an islander's home. 

I was used to living in crowded conditions with other people but mom was not. The bathroom in the tiny island cottage was - inexplicably - located between the kitchen and the hall. One day she was taking a shower and the elderly man who lived in the house nonchalantly walked through the bathroom en route to the kitchen. Needless to say, it freaked my poor mother out. Yet in spite of the strange living conditions, she was a great sport. She rose at dawn every day with the rest of the team for the drive up the winding mountain road to the site. She worked with me side by side in the trenches, stopping only briefly midday, when we would eat a spartan lunch under the olive trees. 


When the season came to an end, we made the journey across to the mainland first by ferry, then by bus to Athens. Knowing mom had been roughing it for weeks in the heat and dirt on a remote island, my Dad had arranged for us to stay at a fancy hotel the night before our flight. We took a cab from the bus station, and when we arrived in front of the lobby, I have never seen my mother move so fast, making a beeline to the room. She never left the entire night, ordering room service instead of going out to eat and enjoying the modern - and private - plumbing. 

Mom may not have wanted to go on another dig again, but I will always be grateful that she showed such interest and took the time to find out more about the career I had chosen. The glamor of the imagined life of an archaeologist was quickly replaced by the reality of the dirt and heat, occasional snakes and scorpions and the odd man wandering through your bathroom. But she never complained and I will always remember her for her willingness to take a chance and enjoy the experience to its fullest. Mom was a strong, resilient woman, and I'd like to think that I have inherited some of her courage and zest for life. 

I'll leave with an image of her, seated in regal beauty, appropriately, in the throne room of an ancient Greek palace.
Thank you, Mom. I love you, and I miss you.

31 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute. I am at a loss for words. Your mother was a wonderful woman. I love that last photo of her. It's very striking.

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  2. No other person will take her place! Yes, time may soften the longing, but that perennial need to feel whole, to have your family around you, to relive special moments you had together, all of this will linger on and on.

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  3. Mothers nurture us forever....your Mom is in your heart and in all those wonderful memories. She is beautiful still......

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  4. So much love evident between the two of you. She lives in you and in this tender tribute. Thank you for sharing your most precious Goddess. I am sure she would have loved this.

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  5. Yoli connected me to you, and I am so grateful. What a tribute to,your relationship. I grapple year after year with this chasm that was left when my mother left for the next life. Reading this helps me focus on the gifts she gave me and that I carry with me, day after day.

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    1. my deepest sympathy for your loss, kitchu. i agree that focusing on the gifts our mothers gave us takes away some of the pain, replacing it instead with love-filled memories♡

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  6. Your Mother is so elegant and her serenity and strength shine, that is rare. How wonderful to have shared these adventures with her that will be with you forever. x

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  7. Wow, Amanda, what a beautiful post. Your mom oozes class... what a beautiful woman.

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  8. Amanda, this post filled my eyes with moisture. I smiled before though, with the account of your classy mom being startled by the man walking in on her shower!

    I am pretty sure I am more like your mom than you -- softer, more accustomed to an easier way of living. But both you and your mom manifest the moon for me. That's all I could see as I read your words, just this sense of moon seeping out from both of you. I don't know if that means anything to you but there it is.

    These posts are so transparent and gorgeous and real. I've learned so much from you.

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    1. since my earliest childhood memories i've watched its phases and feel fortunate to wane and wax in tandem.........i am honored to manifest the moon

      i do know what you mean ~ thank you suze♡

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  9. The memories of Mom are fading and I too spent the whole day thinking about motherhood, since the day of Mom's death was on my first born's 13th birthday.

    Hope I am doing a good enough job. Nice recollections sister and wonderful photos of our American Rose.

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  10. astonishing beauty of every kind runs deep in your family. sending hugs dear amanda. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  11. This is such a wonderful post and your mom is just SO elegant looking, strong, lovely and loving. How wonderful of her to dig with you - that is true love and support.

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  12. thank you all for your kind and loving words about my dear mother - it meant a lot to me to share about her life and i deeply appreciate each and every one of you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    with love and gratitude♡

    amanda

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  13. What wonderful memories of your mother! You tell the story so well, it seems like it is still so clear in your mind.
    And that last photo is a lovely tribute, you're right, it is very regal.

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  14. Love it, much enjoyed it!! Great post Amanda and your mom looks fabulous!!!

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  15. This is such a beautiful post, your mother was so elegant and lovely, dear Amanda.
    I´ve got tears in my eyes , she lives in you now , through your words, your life and your thoughts and we can see that her support and love made the difference in your life.
    with much love,
    Mina

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  16. Dear Amanda, your mother was a stunning woman, and as apparent from your writing, her attributes were not just physical, but she was lovely within as well. Beautifully written, I can imagine you must miss here every day...
    Great photography, what a truly giving post.
    Have a great weekend,
    xoxo

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  17. you know how we sometimes say that tears come reading a certain post? we don't always mean actual tears....but this one, oh dear, amanda. your mother's willingness to make that journey and be by your side speaks volumes. that last photo of her will stay etched in my mind. i know i would have loved meeting her.

    twenty years? how can that be? the people we love, our MOTHERS for god's sake, live in our hearts as though they should be a phone call away.

    i have met many wonderful people and friends and friends through blogging, amanda. this post (sniff, sob) confirms my good fortune that you are among them.

    love
    kj

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    1. thank you kj ~ i have experience the same good fortune through blogging and want you to know that feeling is mutual♡

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  18. I love such mother stories. My own mother was very different, somehow not a mother but a mischievous little devil with whom I could laugh tears but who would never take up any hardships for me. I marvel that there ARE such mothers, though. You are lucky, even though she is gone, that you have such wonderful memories. Oh, I miss my mother, too, but for other reasons - whenever I feel I must tell her my latest malheur to laugh it off. But I have my daughters now who took her place in that. I am happy for you that you also have children, and you surely mean the same to them as your mom did to you!

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  19. Dear friend,the first two photos really grab at me...I keep going back to them..the striking look to her(it's the fashion lover inside me)with the wrist cuff and shades and beautifully placed hair..she strikes me as a very strong woman..and of course you confirmed it when you told us about her trip to visit you on a dig.Oh yes,I see her in you.In every step,in every word,right down to the amazing bangles that you wear on your wrist.xoxoxo

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    1. cat, thank you ~ i have always admired my mother's sense of style, but was taken aback by the dress in this photo when i first saw it - the soft pink color and greek key design combine two of my favorite things!

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  20. oh this brought on tears. those first two photos say it all- look how she lets you free and yet is right there for you. and what a stirring story you shared! you give me strength, the way you find light and grace and tenderness.

    sherry

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    1. sherry,

      i just recently realized that the two photos described what you say, a steadying and then a release....thank you for capturing that moment with your poet's sensibility~

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  21. Ah, it's me...your oh-so-late *Twin*...
    What a gorgeous post! I understand the myriad of feelings you are experienceing...it's been 28 years since my Mum died...I STILL miss her...and often dream about her.

    Being *Twins* in many ways, it figures our Mums were rather alike. Mine took me to Europe for the first time when I was 10....visiting relatives in Croatia (then Yugoslavia)... after that, we had many an adventure together.... though I didn't work abroad, I was (and still am) passionately in love with Europe, the different cultures, languages, religions...

    I see where you got so much of your beauty and spirit...from this wonderful woman! She was indeed regal...strong, brave - just like you! Although she left you and your family far too soon....I feel she IS SO PROUD of you - your family...your lives. She knows.

    Thnakyou for sharing those gorgeous photos! (I can see *YOU* in that little girl!) Oh...my Mum often dressed my in *yellow*...too! A-ha-ha!

    Love, always, from your Moon-loving Robin!

    ♥♥

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  22. Amazing woman! You and your mom both. What a bond and incredible memories of time spent together. You have her strength, her determination and certainly her beauty. There is not a day that you are not reminded of her, her spirit and the gentle clink of silver on your arms.

    Amanda, you are a generous writer to share this intimate story of mother/daughter love. Thank you.

    Bises,
    Genie

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  23. You have all touched me so deeply with your comments..........I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to share them with me♡♡

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  24. Oh Amanda- this is so beautiful. Really, got quite choked up at the end. Your mother looks like such a lady. I can see you've inherited her beauty and zest for life. I love hearing your stories- this one is especially tender.

    Hope you are enjoying your time at the beach! Summer is grand and I'm glad you're getting away to take it all in. See you soon, dear Amanda. :)

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  25. A wonderful tribute and it sounds like you have a most interesting profession!

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