mama and me in our hats in Chicago March 2012Morning Coffee 3 “Morning Coffee” comic from 2011

I’m twenty-seven years old and my mom is dead.

How strange that is to say and even to think. If I live to be at least 60 (and universe-willing it will be longer than that), then she will have been dead for most of my life. How does one understand something like this? The biggest person in my life is gone, and the whole world is different.

She’d been dying for a while, and I knew it was coming. By the end she seemed so far away that I didn’t think it’d be much different when she actually passed. But it’s like there’s a line that’s been crossed, between my life with Mama and now life without.

I’m trying to write this post as a way to organize my thoughts and feelings and be open about them so they don’t get bottled up or pressed down, which is easy for me to do. Like I’ve said before, I’m trying to keep my heart open. But honestly I don’t know what to say.

She was my mom. My biggest champion, supporter, understanding friend, the one who loved me the most no matter how big of a buttface I was being. She made everything fun. She made me, I came out of her. She was my mom. What else can I say?

This hole is really big, and no one else will ever fill it, but maybe it can be hole like this one. Maybe it will allow me to see things I couldn’t without it.

I’m sure I will write more about this. And I’ve been sketching comics throughout the last few months of her cancer, and as I make final versions I might post them here. But for today this is all I’ve got.

11 thoughts on “mama

  1. We’re so sorry to learn this, Anna. Eddie and I send sincere condolences. We’ve both been through the loss of our moms, though not at as early an age as you. I’m sure your loving attention was very comforting to your mother as she approached this big transition.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about this…but thanks for sharing this post. I lost my father to cancer when I was 18 and during the last months he was in hospice I used to sit by his bed and write. So I get where you’re coming from turning to sketching. I look back now and see this really strange irony in creating art while my father was in this physical purgatory. But that’s the thing about art I guess, and why so many people are drawn to it during disasters, because even though we’re not immortal, it can be. It can last and that’s nice to know when you’re suddenly faced with how temporary everything else in life really is. Anyway, I hope you’re doing well. Sending positive thoughts your way.

  3. Anna, i am so sorry for your loss. I’m also sorry there was a mis-communication and i wasn’t there more for your mom. i’m grateful i got to meet her. Her art show at South Street cafe when she had breast cancer for the first time years ago moved me to tears reading about her journey with cancer treatments and all of it. Her artwork was so perfect, it communicated so much.

    I am also grateful i read your cancer comics after i met your mom and got to see what a great sense of humor she had. It is a great loss to the art world that she is gone, but she has raised two very awesome daughters who will continue her legacy of being extraordinary people and i’m glad i got to meet both of you. My condolences. ~ Everley St. Peter

  4. So sorry for your loss, Anna. I don’t know you personally but have been following your blog for a wee while. Thank you for sharing so much of this difficult journey with your readers. I greatly admire your courage and strength. To be able to write this post at all is astonishing.

  5. Anna, you have eloquently written your feelings. I’m so sorry that Vi is no longer with us. You are right in that she was your greatest champion and loved you unconditionally. With her passing, there is a hole, which no one else can fill. You are you because of her, and all of use who knew her are better people because of Viola. Please continue to share through your writing and your comics.

  6. Hey Anna. Sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine what you’re feeling. I just know from posts you put on Facebook that she looked happy with her family. She was a strong woman. Just be proud of her and be that strong woman that she would want you to be. Stacey told me she met her once and was the nicest lady. We both give our condolences. Let us know if you ever need anything.

  7. Anna! I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Your mom was a truly special and warm person and I’m glad I got to act with her in one of your amazing pieces. I’m sending out lots of love and positive vibes your way! I can’t imagine what you must be feeling and I hope you can find peace very soon. Lots of love! -Katie Schank

  8. Dear Anna

    Beautifully written.

    My dad died when I was 24 so I have lived and shared some of your experiences.

    The video by Julia, of you and your mom, is a precious gift to all of us– so typically Viola–the joy, passion, humor, boldness, warmth, and more…and her reflection in you.

    You were lucky in many ways, to have had such a beautiful soul for a mother and to have forged a solid bond and strong foundation for loving, meaningful and heartfelt memories with her.

    She inspired us in many ways, but infused you and Phoebe with her essence. You and Pheobe are her greatest works of art and a beautiful legacy.

    With love to you, Pheobe and Jon.

  9. Dear Anna,

    Your mom nested a space in many people’s hearts. She was that big and generous. I’m so sorry that she is gone.

    I know those deep pangs of loss. I lost my father when I was 26. He missed my wedding and the birth of my son. While I still miss him fiercely, he is alive in the stories I tell about him to my son and the poems and stories I write about him. In fact, I think I come to understand him better the older I get.

    I often think about the book Roots and how those stories were passed along for generations through the telling and the telling.

    Love to you all and stay in touch.


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