Holy Spectacle

And in my dreams you’re alive and you’re crying
As your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet
Rings of flowers ’round your eyes and I’ll love you
For the rest of your life when you’re ready…

And when we break, we’ll wait for our miracle
God is a place where some holy spectacle lies
When we break, we’ll wait for our miracle
God is a place you will wait for the rest of your life.

Jeff Mangum

My sweetest dreams are few and far between these days.  The ones where she walks into the room and asks me if I’m ready to go, and I grab my bag and jaunt off after her as if its the most natural thing in the world.  We eat leisurely lunches, we shop for things we don’t need but love and she makes me laugh.  I feel that ease, that decadent relaxed state I haven’t experienced in nearly twenty years.  Not in that same way.  The rug is back under my feet, I feel it.  Grounded.  Safe.  Warm.  The sun hasn’t split yet.


I know a little boy who is very sick.  My heart explodes when I see photos of him in his hospital bed.  And each night I ask my mother to watch him, and see him through.  Cancer is one of the darkest places I have ever been.  If it were ever to trespass into the sweetness of one of my round-cheeked boys…


She has become the one I pray to.  Maybe that seems odd.  I have a truer sense of her existence above me, however, than of any of my known deities.  She has shown herself to me so many times, tapped my shoulder gently to remind me that I am not actually motherless.  She will watch Oliver.  I know she will.  She is the eternal nurturer, and all those dear to me are her children.

I am manic lately.  I haven’t really had this type of spell before.  Each December feels a little different from the last.  This year I have packed the schedule beyond even my own upper limits.  There are many happy, busy times ahead.  They will block, obscure, distract, dampen.  They will not silence.

In 19 years I have learned a lot.  I have lived nearly half my life without her now.  But inside, my heart hangs open and raw as December 14, 1996.  There are new twists.  New moments that sting differently.  Moments she deserved to see.  If you look into me right now you would see it.  The desperate longing, the un-soothed mind.  Everything is beautiful here.  Its real.  It’s not that I don’t care.  It’s that I can’t fall apart again.  Its not that I am not afraid.  I have just lived scared for long enough to fake it really well.

Chemotherapy eats away superficial beauty, sure.  Its hell to watch someone you love endure.  But I never saw my mother more radiant than when she was bald and emaciated.  And my mother was by all accounts a gorgeous woman.  It was like there was so little covering up her heart.  It all shone through, all her goodness, all her kindness, it was pushing up and out.  Pulsing in her for all to see through the thin veil of her forsaken body.  Oliver is beautiful now.  His mother sees it.  I see it.  Its all simple and pure.  You just have to look.  Don’t avert your eyes.  Take it all in and feel it.  Its the realest thing in the world.  He is going to be ok.


I am grateful.  My loss has opened a chamber in me, a well of compassion and boundless energy to do whatever small thing I can to do help someone else facing real hardship.  I may not understand the specifics.  In Oliver’s case I can’t comprehend them.  My mind cannot process them.  But I take it in and I am present.  My perspective is firmly adjusted and I know what matters to me.  I have reason to celebrate and I know it.  So many of us do.

Hur jag saknar dig mamma . Och jag vet att det är ännu mer smärtsamt att vara dig just nu . Så nära men hittills .




  1. Beautiful Amy. My dad runs with me, we talk, I reflect and draw strength. Your mother must have been amazing, she raised you.

    I wish you peace on Earth, and in heaven too! x

    1. Thank you for this Heather. So kind to say that. You remind me of her in a lot of ways, I think that’s why I felt immediately close to you when we met. I’m glad you are so close with your dad still. As sad as it is to lose a parents, it is comforting to know they are still with us. I know you understand exactly what I mean. xxx

  2. Gumman, words will never be enough to express the sadness or the loss of your amazing mom – our Eva, that all of us miss so greatly, or should I speak only for myself, I still cant read or hardly talk about her without tears welling down my cheeks. Her photo sits here on my desk right by me, every day. I wouldn´t want it any other way. Nothing and no one will ever compensate who she was to me. I can only imagine what its like to be her daughter and not have her around as comfort, or to get to know your amazing boys, and Matt, she would have loved his sense of humor and from my perspective most of all: that she misses out on getting to know the amazing woman you have become. I miss hearing her laughter, and constant giggles and ways she showered the world with love and fun moments. My childhood are filled of those moments where I was in awe of every step I got to come along on her fun exciting activities. I am so grateful to have gotten every single one of those chances to be around her and learn from her, for there are few other women I know of, who define the words graceful, strong, kind, loving more than you do and yet who are so so funny! Jag hoppas moster Eva att du vet hur otroligt mycket jag håller av dig för alltid, men jag hoppas och tror att du verkligen vet vilken plats du och din familj alltid kommer att ha i mitt hjärta. Puss Gumman, jag finns här för dig alltid – det vet du, oavsett vilken tid på dygnet

    1. You are her other daughter gumman. No one other than you knew her in the way we did, as young girls looking up to her, experiencing all the joy and fun she brought each day. And with you I never have to explain any of it. I just look at you, and we understand. I love you so.

  3. My Prayers to Oliver. Sweet little angel. This is how he will spend his Christmas as our children will open gifts and take in the wonderment of the holiday. Life can be so cruel.
    My heart is breaking.
    Thank you for this.
    Much love Amy.

    1. Thank you for this my sweet friend. I know what it is to experience your generous heart, and I know that you will keep him in your thoughts. Love you for that.

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