Updated: May 10, 2021
It's my Mom's sixth yahrzeit (Jewish word for death anniversary) today. She died suddenly when I was 22. We were very close and I miss her every day. I wasn't sure if I wanted to incorporate this part of my life into DID, but as this date got closer, I decided I wanted to.
One hard thing about losing someone is that the relationship is no longer reciprocal, (well except for the occasional sign or odd message from a medium... future doodle idea?!). Eventually, I thought, what better way to keep my mom's memory alive than writing about her and doodling about our dynamic?
I'm not really an artist — I've always been a writer. I was an editor at my college paper and my first job out of college was a reporter at a business newspaper. My Mom used to read everything I wrote and say she was so impressed with how much info I could fit into a sentence or a paragraph.
I think if she could see my newsletter and doodles — she'd find some typos and tell me to improve my handwriting — but, she'd also be impressed with my new storytelling format. With a picture and words, and sometimes video, I can say even more.
As time goes on, one thing that's hard is that my Mom and I have a finite amount of memories. The doodle below is about who I was at 22. I wish my Mom could see who I am today. I'm really good at administrative tasks now and never dramatic! ;) I hope this blog post captures just a little bit about who she was.
This doodle shows a sliver of our relationship. I could say a lot about my Mom and grief. And I already have in other ways. (Here's an essay I wrote last year about what her clothing means to me). I did standup about grief, and I was producing a show last year that I would host with other comedians, but was canceled due to COVID.
I liked doing standup about loss because it felt important to remove that taboo about talking about death and expressing my experience. Yet it was also hard emotionally and I felt pigeonholed. In standup, you work to perfect your set, which means you perform the same material a lot. I didn't always want to talk about grief, but those jokes were good, which made me stand out. As a result, I was afraid to try new material that didn't do as well. Plus, as time went on, some of those jokes didn't feel as relevant to me anymore.
It turns out, for now, doodling is a low-risk way to try out all kinds of material. Also, I don't want to be defined by my loss. Fortunately, as DID has grown and I have found my voice, I think sharing about grief is natural because it's a part of my life. I will occasionally share doodles about loss, while still making doodles about all the topics I currently cover: life, and DID, are multifaceted.
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