I am pleased to announce that this week I signed a book contract with EIF (Experiments in Fiction) for my poetry collection, Three-Penny Memories: A Poetic Memoir! Thank you for signing me, Ingrid Wilson!
Ingrid is currently preparing the anthology Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, edited by Gabriela Marie Milton, a best-selling poet on Amazon. I also have two poems in this collection, which also happen to be in my forth-coming book, which will be out later this year.
My forthcoming poetry book is about my mother and me. Our lives were entangled in many ways. As the oldest daughter, I was her main helper throughout my life, and there were interesting parallels in our lives. She helped me through recovery from measles encephalitis, which caused a brain injury and burned up many memories. Likewise, I helped her navigate aging and Alzheimer’s, which as we all know is a brain injury which steals memories.
However, we had differences. Mom was fertile, able to have 7 children. Because she had 4 babies over the course of 4 years (a set of twins in there), and she almost died with the last baby, I had to help out a lot by mothering the babies. I would learn many years later that this period of time, when I was only ages 9 to 11, would be my only time as a ‘mother’.
Unfortunately, when I was in utero, Mom was prescribed Diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent spotting. This drug ruined my reproductive organs and hormone system, and caused cancer scares and major surgeries, ultimately a total hysterectomy.
I am one of many DES Daughters (and there are DES Sons too). DES also has other effects on people, and the damage from this drug affects several generations. If I had by chance I had been able to carry a baby full term by having the T-shaped uterus tied off so as not to miscarry, my child would have still suffered the effects of the DES. The book explores my having to come to terms with my broken womb and a miscarriage because of the deformed uterus. This condition has caused me a freat deal of grief.
The Mother Wound. This is a deep topic for me. Some poems reveal the healing I had to do to help my mother in her later years. I was willing to forgive her for taking DES, but she forgot about the role that she inadvertently played in my infertility and health problems and threw it in my face that I was childless.
This leads to another level of the Mother Wound. Were Mom and I competing? And how? Our lives were so entwined with grief and loss. I also address inter-generational trauma which affected our mother-daughter relationship.
Mother felt abandoned by her mother, so she was motherless. This lack of bonding made my mother over bearing at times and also asked a lot of me to make up for what she lost from her mother as I learned to be codependent. Mom’s relationship with her mother was complicated by the deaths of her sisters. I feel Grandmother was unable to bond with Mom because of the fear of losing her too.
Another facet to this Mother Wound diamond is what really motivated this book. When I told my uncle Mom was coming to live near me, he surprised me with the question, Do you love her? This question uprooted me and caused me to examine whether or not I loved her at all, so this book explores that question as I trace my relationship with my mother over the years to her death from Alzheimer’s.
Writing this poetic memoir was truly healing. Some poems are tough to share. This book explores the possibility that a daughter might not love her mother because of life conflicts yet must be present to her as she faces the challenge of Alzheimer’s.
If you would like a taste of my work, Spillwords published two poems I am including in this book: ”Cooking a Life with a Wire Spine”, which was nominated as Publication of the Month last August (2021) and “Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks”.
Stay tuned for updates! And I hope you can purchase the book and join me on this journey of processing grief and loss.
My featured image is my own neurographica art. You can learn more about this art therapy at neurographicacademy.com. My intent with this image was to seek guidance. I realized that the blue circles are blueberries, and the heart represents my mother, who loved to pick blueberries. Therefore, I feel she is still present to me as I continue to heal my grief.