Happy Mother’s Day: The Lone Lily – acrylic painting

The Lone Lily – a tribute to my Mother

“The flower is worn by many mothers, the Chinese also venerate the day lily as a symbol of filial devotion to one’s mother,”  by Living Art Originals (www.livingartoriginals.com)

Please don’t take my images – my art is copyrighted.  Please don’t copy or use the image without receiving my permission first – see disclosure on the right panel.

When I painted this flower in the Fall of 2017 it never occurred to me that it would become the symbol of my devotion to my Mother.  The meaning of this flower seems to fit perfectly.

You see, my Mother has Alzheimer and over this past winter we had to place her in a nursing home.  Respecting her privacy, I’ll say only that her symptoms started to show about seven years ago and none of us during this time understood what was happening.  It wasn’t until the last two years that my family came to terms with the severity of her situation and began making plans for our Mother’s care.

For my family it has been an emotionally raw and exhausting period, and on a personal note loosing my Mother to this cruel disease has thrown me for a loop – art and blogging have taken a back seat.  Caring for elderly parents has become my family’s day-to-day priority.  I’m slowly being drawn back to my art and this blog, which is a good thing.

I’ve come to appreciate how special each moment is when I’m able to speak to her – they are precious nuggets that I’ll cherish.  It’s taken a long time to come to terms with my Mother slowly slipping away – how does one ever get used to the long goodbye?   I truly understand the meaning of this saying now.

Today is a very Happy Mother’s Day because I got to speak to my Mother and thank goodness, she still knows I am her daughter.   

About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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69 Responses to Happy Mother’s Day: The Lone Lily – acrylic painting

  1. lorriebowden says:

    Ah! Mary…I just wrote a response and it vanished into thin air…and maybe rightfully so. I told you that I understand…I understand.
    My heart goes out to you and I want you to know that I am here for you!
    Many blessings…and you have to look hard for them sometimes, I know. ❤

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Lorrie for your kind words, it’s been an experience on so many levels that’s difficult to describe. I appreciate your blessings and wishes – thank you.

  2. Ah, Mary, you almost made me weep. This gorgeous piece is poignant in itself, but the story of your mother is sad, too. I’m sorry to hear this news, and I’m sad to think of the extra turmoil and everything else that goes along with it. Remember to take care of yourself, and don’t forget to laugh.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Ruth, your words are so poignant – you’ve got to look for the good with the bad, and most important the humor of little situations that all of a sudden show itself. It’s been an emotionally draining process of learning and experiencing the many stages of this disease. Thank you for being so kind with your thoughts.

  3. Glad to see you back Mary! You are lucky to have such precious moments with your Mother, and she is lucky to have you in her life. Alzheimers is such a horrible illness and you and your family are handling it all so well. Beautiful painting… as always! ~Rita

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Rita – it’s been a process of learning, about the disease and care-taking. We are lucky to have found an amazing place that provides her with the professional care she needs at this stage of the disease.

  4. Amy says:

    I’m sorry to read about your mom. My husband mother had gone through it… I understand how difficult it is for the family. Take care, Mary. Hugs.
    I love this beautiful lily.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Amy, thank you so much for your kind words – it seems that many around the world share the same experience. Such a destructive disease, in so many ways. Take care and looking forward to spending time seeing your beautiful photography.

  5. Resa says:

    My heart goes out to you, and your Long Goodbye! My mom had brain cancer. It was a short good-bye….. 3 months. I moved to Winnipeg for those 3 months, and I still feel I should have done more. I was much braver when my N’s mom died.
    Your Lone Lily is beautiful and fitting. Sending love, Resa.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Resa. I’m sorry to read about your loss, very sad for you and your family. Three months is no time at all , you are just getting accustomed to the new reality. I really do appreciate your kind thoughts- we take it one day at a time .

  6. Paul Beech says:

    Mary, I’ve twice tried posting a comment but it seems to have vanished each time – maybe gone into your spam folder?

    • Mary says:

      Hi Paul, yes you are correct – your posts all went into spam. Thank you for being diligent and following-up. So sorry for being late in responding.

  7. Paul Beech says:

    [Re-posting this comment as it seemed to vanish the first time.]

    Such a beautiful lily, Mary.

    My mum also suffered Alzheimer’s. She spent her last years in a wonderful Welsh care home with my dear old dad, always so devoted, visiting for several hours daily, come rain or shine.

    Mum and Dad are together for all eternity now, and I place flowers at their grave every Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I think of them as the happy young couple they were back in the 50s, Dad kissing her on the lips as he swung out of the house with his briefcase every morning, Mum singing at her ironing board whilst listening to Mrs Dale’s Dairy on the radio.

    Aye, your beautiful yellow lily brings quite a lump to my throat.

    Take care,


    • Mary says:

      Such a beautiful message Paul, thank you so very much. I’m happy to read that the painting brought back such fond memories of your parents, but very sad to read that your Mother also suffered from Alzheimers – a cruel disease that it seems too many of us experience in some form. Alzheimers and dementia seem to be as common these days as hearing the word cancer. That is a sad circumstance for us all. Thank you again for visiting and leaving such a poignant message. My best to Maureen.

  8. A very moving post, Mary. The Lily painting is so lovely and a fitting tribute to your Mom. I know something of your anguish, as my Mom had dementia and slowly slipped away from us. It was heartbreaking to see her become so dependent on others for care. I’m so happy for you that you got to speak to her on Mother’s Day and that she still knows who you are. Hugs to you. xx

    • Mary says:

      Hi Sylvia, so good to hear from you and thank you for your special words. It is amazing how many, no matter where in the world, are going through or have experienced the same. It’s a sad and relatable kinship that we all have. I’m sorry to hear this about your Mom – I do remember the photographs you posted of her birthday celebrations you all had for her. Take care and have a lovely week.

  9. Lilies always remind me of love, Mary, and your painting and post remind me of my Mama and her love for us. ❤ My thoughts, love and prayers go with you, your mother and family…

    • Mary says:

      Hi Bette, thank you so much for your lovely comment and sentiments – it means a lot that it brought back good memories of your Mama. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

  10. restlessjo says:

    Oh, bless you, sweetheart! Obviously I knew something was wrong, but you have to respect people’s privacy. So sorry that this has happened, Mary. It must be the hardest thing. Your lily painting has such elegance and is a lovely tribute to Mum. Enjoy whatever cuddles and time together you can, hon, and cherish your shared memories.

  11. ladyfi says:

    So very very beautiful!

  12. tomsimard says:

    A difficult illness and such an emotional rollercoaster for loved ones.

    Treasure those moments like on Mother’s Day and all the others you had before.

  13. Kathy LaCorte says:

    Mary I really like this painting and your sharing about your mom. I am grateful that our families can remain close through this. Having electronic methods to communicate and share is such a blessing in times like this where distance would not all such communication.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you cousin for being so kind and I can’t agree with you more. That’s the one good thing about modern communications today, we can communicate quickly. For your Mom and my Mother, the gap totally closes and they can be together, even if not physically – it allows them a special time and for your Mom, a peace of mind. I don’t have facetime (because I’m not on facebook), but skype affords us a few minutes each week that has become priceless.

  14. cmartzloff says:

    Thank you Mary for your beautiful painting and for sharing it’s inspiration.
    I’m sorry to hear about your mother and dan identify with feelings of loss. Peace to you!

  15. Gallivanta says:

    An exquisite representation of the love which exists between you and your mother. Seeing a parent decline is hard; caring for them is even harder. My mother, at 95, has dementia. Each journey is different but I wish for you what I hope for our mother’s journey; courage, compassion, and as much joy and serenity as possible.

    • Mary says:

      So beautiful and poignant Gallivanta, thank you for always being present and generous. I echo your words today, it’s amazing how many of us, from all over the world, have or are going through this journey. Perhaps during our lifetime there will be a breakthrough in preventing or at least stabilizing the devastating effects of these two diseases.

  16. A good painting as you continue on an agonising journey

  17. Dear Mary, I’m thankful that she knows you and wanted to let you know how blessed my Mom is with the phone calls you gals make for her. God bless you, Love, Pegi

    • Mary says:

      Hello Dear Pegi, thank you. I love talking to your Mom and I know my sisters are so happy to be able to share with her stories of our Mother (and facetime when they can connect). Mom’s in a happy place, she is one of the fortunate ones. Love, Mary

  18. Beautiful work, Ms Mary
    As always

    With much love


  19. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful tribute to your mother and to all mother a who view this lily. You make your Mom proud. Keep on painting you bring joy and inspiration to many people.

  20. lulu says:

    Mary, I know each of the steps you are going through and I hope your Mother always remembers you. That was the only good thing I experienced during my mother’s decline.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Lulu and sorry that you had to walk down this path as well. When I read your words I thought exactly that – there is nothing good about it, except she still knows all of us, but not something that may have happened 20 minutes ago. So you just smile and move on in the conversation ~

  21. What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Mary. The painting is so lovely. At first I thought it was a photograph because it looks so real. I’m happy to hear you’re being drawn back to your art. I really think it will be good for you. My thoughts and prayers remain with you and your family. ❤

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Jill in so many ways, for your generous response to the painting and most of all for being so understanding of the situation. It means a lot to receive your thoughts and prayers.

  22. Leya says:

    Mary, I know something of what you are going through. My mother is still at home with her husband though – but we are preparing for her to move into a home with people in the similar situation. Hugs to you.

    • Mary says:

      So good to see you Ann-Christine, and thank you. I know this has been a long journey for your family as well – it’s a difficult decision to come to, but your family will do what’s right for your parents. We are blessed to have found a good place for our Mother – the people who work there are an incredible group of professional caretakers.

      • Leya says:

        I can only congratulate you to have found a safe and comfortable place for your mother. Love to hear from you.

        • Mary says:

          Thanks Ann-Christine, luck was really on our side. From what we have read, not always so with some nursing homes out there.

          • Leya says:

            When I read in media about it I feel scared, really. Is this the way we treat our elderly people who built this land?

            • Mary says:

              Ann-Christine, I know what you mean – my family went through the same anxiety because of what has been in the media. See the link below that helped me. I didn’t sleep for several weeks after she went in and cry – well that came easily and often. It wasn’t until my family started to see how they treated my Mother from the professional care, to their compassion (all of the individuals from nurses to aides – they really worked hard to understand the person and their care was an extension of this understanding) were unmatched from what we’ve heard about – we’re very lucky in this respect and very relieved. Also we were lucky because my family worked very closely together throughout the period before, once she entered and continuing. It really helps to work as a team, with everyone taking on certain roles and responsibilities. It’s been a learning experience in many ways. I’m thinking about you guys and wishing you all the best as you walk this path.


  23. neihtn2012 says:

    AD is a silent but terrible disease, but sometimes there are moments of lucidity and remembrance. Did you read or see “The Notebook”?

    • Mary says:

      Hi Hien – good to hear from you. You are so right, it’s silent and you really don’t know it is happening until it becomes well down the road of no return or slowing down. I did not see the Notebook, but it’s now on my list. Have a wonderful week ahead.

  24. dorannrule says:

    Oh Mary….I am so sorry about your Mom. I can especially relate since my Mom also had Alzheimers and I was her caregiver for about 3 years. The strain and drain were immense so I understand what you have been going through. I did a blog post about it and will try to find the link for you. Hugs and welcome back to cyberspace. ❤ Dor

    • Mary says:

      Hi Dorann, so good to see you again – it explains a lot to know that your Mother was also afflicted. As her caretaker, I know how heavy a toll that must have been on you. I would love to read your post, to gain a better understanding – hope you can forward your link so I can read what you wrote. Thank you so much my friend ~ your smiling ways belies your pain.

  25. Your art as always is amazingly beautiful. In this case, it is also quite poignant. I can only imagine how this treacherous disease affects a family, but as a person aging, it is the most fearful thing any of us can even imagine. May your Mom continue to feel your love and support and may you and your family manage the many feelings associated with a long goodbye.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Judy for your special words and also compliment, appreciate it very much. I understand what you mean and worry too that some day I’ll experience the same as my Mother. Good to see you again ~

  26. Mary, so sorry to hear about your Mom. May God bless you and your family with strength and peace.

  27. This is a very moving post, Mary. I wish you and your mom the very best. Glad to read that you’ll find your way back to art. Art is so soothing when we deal with heartbroken situations.

  28. Novus Lectio says:

    Awwww so beautiful

  29. That’s so beautiful.

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