Ashes To Everything: Grief, Guilt & Love

I chose water today.  Brass, water, Japanese characters on a bowl in which calcium and carbon will reside.   It is time to move Mom from the patriotic priority shipping box to something more decorative and dignified.  Guilt plants doubts and questions:  “Nothing too expense; nothing too cheap.  Do I go with a biodegradable urn?  Do I choose the $750 royal purple urn so that both of our ashes can be added and buried upon my death?”

Memorial Gallery:  Alchemy Brass Urn via

Memorial Gallery: Alchemy Brass Urn via

How does one memorialize a mother who didn’t mother but who did the best she could to provide her children a better life, even if it meant that she wouldn’t be in it?  Right or wrong, she was still Mom to my brothers and I.  She was still a sister to my aunt and uncle.  Her life had value on a human level, despite the collateral damage left in her wake.  Burying a parent is difficult, no matter the level of connection.

I chose metal – warm in color and tone, cold in temperature, fired for strength, resistant to salt water and therefore, my tears.   I chose symbolism – a water carrier.  Water, which shifts shape and form:  from water to ice and back again.  Soothing and abrasive.  Just like mom.

I chose symbols.  I don’t know what they mean, which seems appropriate since my mother was such an enigma to me.  Symbols that represent the closing of one chapter and the liberating freedom of another.

I am providing my mother dignity and love – from ashes to nothing to everything.  In the end, all that matters is love – in life and in death.

About Paulissaisms

What Kind of Artist Am I? I am an Empress of Creative Energy, releasing truth and beauty into the universe, singed by the fires of Edana and Callayosa. The art I heal with involves color, lines and questions. Questions for which there is no right or wrong answer, only the one thàt moves the spirit and soul of those answering. I bring awareness to the need for social change with line, color, motion, words, camera lens and through strength of spirit and a voice that will not be silenced. I am a Rebel of Intention Presence & Liberator of the Light Filled Shadow ™ : Activist, Advocate, Mixed Media Artist, Author, Mental Health 1st Responder, Peer Support Specialist, Photographer, Truthteller, Whole Health Action Management and Wellness Recovery Action Plan facilitator.

14 Responses to Ashes To Everything: Grief, Guilt & Love

  1. Jacquie says:

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  3. Miriam Dunn says:

    A marvelous piece of writing; very soul-filled

  4. Billie says:

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  5. Wilda says:

    Wоw, this piеce of writing iis fastidious, my youngeг sisteг is analyzing such things, thus
    I am going to convey her.

  6. Kat Kim says:

    “I chose metal – warm in color and tone, cold in temperature, fired for strength, resistant to salt water and therefore, my tears. I chose symbolism – a water carrier. Water, which shifts shape and form: from water to ice and back again. Soothing and abrasive. Just like mom.”

    Oh my goodness Paulissa, your writing is so beautiful. In this short sentence I have a strong sense of who your mother was throughout her lifetime. I’m sorry for your loss, and at the same time inspired by your journey through this experience. You are wonderful, my dear friend.

    LOVE to you!


    • Paulissaisms says:

      Thank you Kat! I am finding peace, healing wounds and forgiving: both my mother and myself. It is an interesting process and though painful in some ways, it is peaceful in many others.

  7. Shan says:

    What a lot of thought you put into this container, Paulissa. As others have said, the honour you have shown your Mum, regardless of how much difficulty she had parenting you and your brothers, speaks volumes about who you are as a person. You are indeed an incredibly brave heart and your love speaks volumes. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post.

    • Paulissaisms says:

      Thank you, Shan. I appreciate your kind words. It has been a tough process, as burying a parent can be but I think it is healing me in some ways and forgiveness is easier now, though we had a civil but not close relationship. We talked once or twice a month, but she never let me know that she was diagnosed with brain, lung, bone and liver cancer. She lived in a different state so I couldn’t see the suffering. It was a shock when I went up to WI and went through things and saw the level of suffering.

  8. Lorraine says:

    You have given your mother a gift she perhaps might not have so openly received if she were still here. Love does transcend all things to connect us all. Having buried both parents I know the care and reflection you have gone through to select what is wonderfully perfect. Thank you for bringing us to a deeper level of peace and connection.


    • Paulissaisms says:

      Thank you, Lorraine. She gave me the gift of life and that matters, therefore she matters. There is respect to be paid and love to be shown.

  9. Chizelle says:

    Oh Paulissa,

    This is just beautiful.
    I love that you can see what she was and what she wasn’t and still choose love, still choose to honour her.

    Thank you for sharing

    • Paulissaisms says:

      Thank you Chizelle. We had an awkward relationship but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t love one another the best way we knew how. I would say I understand her better now than before her death, because there were a lot of documents in her things that filled in a lot of blanks. It is a process and every step heals things further.

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