I hadn't left the building in ten days. When I finally ventured out, I was a bit superstitious. It made it more final, (as if death weren't final.) But still, I managed to raise my camera. My first picture, my shadow; my second, my dear brilliant friend Caroline McHugh. Everything was ok. Life went on.
Caroline McHugh of "Never Not a Lovely Moon" and IDology.
I can't thank you all enough for your thoughts, prayers, flowers, wishes, reassurances. My story with my mother has been so rich. In every fibre of our beings we were tested and rewarded - both of us. I had no idea what I was getting into when I moved her here with me, but it was a calling, deep and lonely, that I could not ignore, and I'd do it all again in half a heartbeat.
In the muddle of her dementia, my mother found the rapt audience she had always sought. We were constantly surprised by her spontaneous "Stoney" theatre. She loved to make us laugh, she would come up with nonsensical songs daily, or at least deliver the "Cream of Wheat" jingle on cue. Her arm gestures alone were a private ballet. She rhymed, punned, deadpanned.
She was generous and loving to the end - always concerned that there be enough ice cream for everybody. Some days she would even try to give her beloved "doggums" away because someone else might need them more than she. "There are probably some orphans who've never even had a doggum..."
Often, after coming up with some delicious play on words, she would laugh her deep laugh and say, "Gotcha! Jonatha, this is good, are you writing this down? We could make a play out of it."
I WAS writing it down. Every word.
From the time I realized how much she needed me, even to today. I felt this fiery imperative. Survival? maybe. Lemonade, sure. But this story is larger than just me and my mother, - it's unconditional love. Deep connection. Music that is older than the universe.
I have been writing, and singing this story, really, my whole lifetime. And so, what I am doing next will be larger than just "my next record" or more journal entries. It's all of a piece i think: Music, writing, photographs...and Mom has been egging me on from the start. My mother was a woman who was constantly questioning and searching for her own identity, but somehow she endowed me with a certainty of mine. She would tell me, even as a sobbing confused teen-ager, "You were aimed from birth."
I am so lucky to have had this time with her, and to be able to begin to tell the whole story.