I lost my Mom in December 2006 and it was devastating. Although I knew it was coming and thought I was prepared I most certainly was not. I haven't been able to look at photos of her since and I still have her belongings in storage........the road to finding strength in dealing with these things has been a struggle. I wish you all could have met her, she would have made you feel instantly comfortable with her genuine warmth, she would have wanted to give you something to eat or drink and she would have made you laugh hysterically.
I have had a fervent wish for nearly 2 years now that she would come to me in a dream but it never happened...........UNTIL...............
I began making the shrine.
I had no idea what I was doing when I got out some cigar boxes and began to assemble something. I covered it in aluminum tape thinking I would emboss some of it. Obviously from this beginning photo I changed the top portion.
I knew it would require using her photos and personal things of hers and it was then I decided to bolster all my strength and just do it.
My Mom collected angels so adding wings at the top was appropriate. The sacred heart and the glass angel were just the right things. My Mom always gave out wee angel pins to everyone and she always had one on whatever she wore. I cannot believe I couldn't find one of them but I have a feeling there are tons among her belongings in that storage.
I decided to emboss the "doors" of the shrine and paint the images, I used a book of Dia de los Muertos to help with designs.
I added her watch. This watch was on her wrist 24 hrs a day, she loved the big numbers and the fact you could push on the stem and it lit the dial. Unfortunately this watch was washed in the washing machine by her caregivers and it never worked again. I bought her a brand new (identical) one after that and THAT watch was buried with her ashes so she would always know the time. I also added her glasses to this shrine with their original chain she wore around her neck, I have not cleaned them.
The photo with the witches hat was taken on her last Halloween, I had brought her the hat and the t-shirt and she made a witches cackle as I took the photo. She was so happy that day. My Mom was the queen of making costumes - and dressing up in them over many Halloweens. Her last one was as Lady Godiva. Wearing pink one piece jammies she donned a long blonde wig and carried a hobby horse on a stick that whinnied when you pinched the ear. She was, I believe, 82 years old and the talk of the Senior complex where she lived at the time. She was a joiner that one, and very popular.
That is a photo I took of her hands - she wondered why I wanted a picture of them and I told her those hands did everything beginning with holding me for the first time. The three quarters on the right are because she LOVED playing the card game called "31" where you needed 3 quarters for each hand. When our family was quasi-normal we'd play this game in to the night. The coins on the left are from Italy and Greece....they represent the traveling my parents did. (and my Mom was full Italian and my Dad half Greek) There is also a pin of hers back there that says Bingo on it......this woman loved her Bingo and one time went with some other seniors to Reno for a Bingo extravaganza where she won $5000!!!
I glued those seashells on as she loved the ocean. She was the original oceandreamer.
That is her charm bracelet hanging there...she added to it for years as I was growing up. Places they'd travel and so on. I don't wear it as I couldn't bare the thought of something falling off of it or getting lost. It's hard to tell but on the right is a longer piece that is actually an earring of a golf bag I added for the shrine....as at one time she was an avid golfer.
I added some skulls although they are not the traditional sugar ones. Of course their needed to be candles.
I also could not find (I know, I know) marigolds growing around here so I ordered these lovely silk ones that I think look lovely and won't shrivel and die.
I included a photo of my parents wedding and an old photo of my Mom and my oldest brother laughing. My Dad passed away in 1997 and my brother passed away 3 weeks after my Mom. (another hard blow). I like that photo of my Mom and brother as that is what they did a lot of when we were all together.....laugh!!
I said at the beginning that my Mom had not come to me in a dream until now.....
A few days after beginning the construction of this "ofrenda" I opened my file called Mom and looked at the photos I had on my computer.....I didn't fall apart. I was happy to see her face. I began printing them out.
That night I dreamt I walked in to a small shop, it appeared to be a clothing shop. I looked towards the back and saw her....hair dark ( not salt and pepper) she was wearing a cream colored big sweater that had pompoms on the front.(something she definitely would have worn) I ran as fast as I could towards her nearly knocking her down saying to her "I can't believe I can hug you again". At that point she hugged me so tight and in my ear she whispered "I miss you". I woke up at that point. It was my Mom......it was the first time. And the only time so far.
I think she was happy I was able to look at her photos with love and happiness instead of only deep sadness and loss. I think she was happy I was doing this shrine as well. My Mom was catholic who loved angels, Saint Theresa and Saint Jude. She would love this.
I missed the mark in that I don't have all 4 elements represented, as is traditional. I need to add water and the cutout tissue paper(air). I do have the earth(marigolds and fire(candles) part... I will add those. I will be adding other things of hers to this as well or things that represent her. I may even add more colors...she loved color. I think if I had all the things that, to me, represented my Mom and who she was I'd have to build a much bigger shrine. But it's ok for now............because this endeavor.........the participation in this blog event....... has helped me in ways I never would have imagined.
I am grateful and I think my Mom is as well.
Once again this is a long post and once again I appreciate greatly if you read the entire thing.
Now go to Stephanie's blog and Susanna's blog and look for the link to others taking part in this celebration! AND if you are taking part be sure you leave them your link.
THANK YOU to both of them!