The Picture At My Desk: Mom and Dad

(Photo Credit: Stacy Morrison)

I have a lot of little photos at my desk, all around me. Actually, they’re Stickygrams, those awesome mini-magnets of your Instagram photos.

But the most important photo at my desk isn’t a Stickygram. Because I don’t have an Instagram photo of my parents. They died before Stickygram was invented. Before Instagram, even. They died four weeks apart in June and July of 2010, both of sudden, unexpected illnesses that punched a huge hole in my life, never to be mended again.

But the photo doesn’t make me sad. The photo makes me think how made-of-awesome I am. That love that parents give their children makes me think about how much my parents meant to me, that I, as an unnecessarily independent person, didn’t even realize until they were gone. Turns out, you don’t feel the floor under your feet until you’re falling.

One day a few months ago, I was sitting at my desk, doing that funny daydreaming thing that leads to writing, and I was once again feeling that curious sense of empty, that the two people who always wanted to know how I was doing weren’t on the planet anymore. And suddenly, I wanted to see them.

So I opened up my camera on my iPhone and located a photo I had there: a photo of a photo of my parents in the ’70s. I had taken the photo of the photo on one of the days I was organizing all the family memories and scrapbooks — my post-funeral task, and a task of which I have barely scratched the surface, these three years later. I had texted it to my brothers that day, and this day, I printed it out immediately, knowing clearly, suddenly, that what I wanted was to have them in front of my face, seeing me, always.

And so I do.

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6 Responses

  1. Susan Linney
    Susan Linney

    Incredibly moving, Stacy. Margit was right — you did make me cry. Beautifully written — I LOVE this. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  2. Stacy Morrison
    Stacy @bklynstacy

    Thanks so much, Susan. xo

  3. Naima

    Thank you Stacy, so beautiful and tenderly written. ‘You don’t feel the floor under your feet until you’re falling.’ I know I will feel the same way if my parents might fall away. In this stage in life I have a strained relationship with my mother which pains me because I wish I could accept her as she is instead of wishing she would become more independent, less complaining. I know I am letting myself and her down but I don’t know how to remedy my feelings of frustration. Love your work!

  4. Stacy Morrison
    Stacy @bklynstacy

    Oh, oh, oh Naima! I wish I could write my next book in a week to get it into your hands… I don’t know how to perfect relationships, but I did — in a long, dramatic, complicated, heartbreaking and ultimately good-enough relationship with my mother — learn how to lessen my own personal agony in dealing with all she could not be. Here is part of the story: I just want you to know that acceptance and resistance/regret can live side by side, THAT is the success to aim for. Sending you love and strength.

    • Naima

      Thank you so much for replying Stacy! It is very nice to be heard as I feel so guilty not being able to just be happy with my parents alive as they are. Thank you for your wise comment and the excerpt from your book! Looking forward to it, read your first book in one night.
      A fan from Amsterdam. Xx

  5. Rita Arens
    Rita Arens

    A friend of mine unexpectedly lost her mother in a very similar situation to your parents earlier this year. I went over to her house and sat next to her with a Google doc, listing out all the things that needed to be done and who in our band of six would do them for her. It took four hours for her to be able to focus enough to tell me where things were, whom to contact, what to do, but we made it through. I remember wishing I could have done it for you. I hope someone will do it for me when the time comes. I’m so glad you had those last days with your mother, though, to figure out all the hurts and put them aside. I anxiously await your book.


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