Christopher David Taylor - A Portrait of My Mother

from by Spiderweb Salon

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Reflections on life with a parent with severe mental illness.

{ inspired by "Portrait of My Mother" by Philip Evergood }


If I were to paint a portrait of my mother
She would not be sitting in repose
Like some saint or goddess
Hands folded, skeletal, across her chest.

After 150 electroconvulsive therapy treatments,
After years of overmedication,
After years of misunderstanding and
After years of trying to be normal.

Rather, confused and wide eyed like a
Baby. Sitting on a couch looking at the
Piles of dishes and laundry that will be
Done “later.”

Sitting in the seat of a plane with tickets
To the wrong destination. An escape
Hatch that doesn’t open.
Phones that don’t pick up, and a silent breath.

In that portrait of my mother, I see myself
Trying to hold it together for a few more
Weeks. To make it through the hardest part,
The part before the breakdown.

She sits on a piano bench, hands extended
And shaking from emotion. Can’t get the
Notes together, they come out jumbled
And her voice cracks.

But for the grace of god.
But for the grace of god.
But for the grace of god.

But see, I don’t believe in god.
So who’s grace do I get to wait for?
Easing the suffering of others is its
Own grace.

And if I could show this portrait to her,
What she would say? I don’t
Know. There isn’t anything left unsaid except
I see you, Mom.


from collective | connection, released September 7, 2019


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