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My mother died May 15, 2000. So it's always right by Mother's Day, as grundoon wrote here. My mother's birthday was May 31: right by Memorial Day.

This May feels difficult. We shift emotionally and I am in the midst of a shift. Growth. One hopes.

What is more important to you? Your internal landscape or your external one? I have been reading my mother's diaries. My mother was incredibly charming. My cousin describes her years ago as "the zany and much loved aunt of the editor." Two years after she died, grundoon and I went into counseling at nearly the same time. We asked our father, "What was she really like?"

The diaries confirm his reply: morose.

And now some of my mother's art is a little frightening. Or sad. She had many series where she would do two etchings or drawings. Kitchen window I with the riot of plants on her windowsill. Kitchen window II where there are fairies and elves and tiny people with spears and monsters.... Pairs. The monster one is not real, is it? Or does the second picture represent the hidden part of herself?

Our culture pays lip service to being ourselves. Being unique and honest. I read today about the father of the bride having a heart attack last week, the father of Megan Markle. Disney sells the princess dream over and over, but I want nothing to do with it.

I had a dream over a decade ago, that keeps coming back. I write poems about it. The latest iteration is that someone asked me what the injured child inside me wants. A nine month old, when I was handed back to my mother, who I didn't know. The internal answer was immediate: she wants to accept the wings. She wants to be an angel. A falling angel. And so I accept the wings and the dream.

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But then, what does that mean? It doesn't mean she or I want to be dead. The angels in my dream fall eternally. There is nothing beneath them. They are white on black or black on white and it doesn't matter. It's the contrast that is important. The angels in the dream are not evil nor good in the moral sense of humans: they are made, created, to fall. It's not a beatnik atheist dream really, or is it?

My ortho massage person says that our culture has lost our core. That we lose our core as small children and focus on the external only. Physically and psychically.

My parents moved here in 1996. My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1997. She died in 2000. But she was in a chorus and the Master Gardening Group, was a potter with a kiln, joined the printing group, art groups. For a decade after she died, patients said to me: "Your mother was so charming!"

I think: at what cost?

I love the mother in the diaries too. The hidden mother, the dark mother, the mother who writes that she will never leave my father and that he will never stop drinking. She left once, when I was in my 20s, and her diaries record that she is angry at ME for "making" her leave....for six months. After a year she writes "He did stop drinking for a while when I left. It was nice when he wasn't drinking."

She never left again.

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And I wonder: Do we want to be whole? And wholly loved? How can we be whole when we hide?

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