ode to mum

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Seven Days of Daisy | 6 comments

My mother, Jeanne Hogan, died on April 10.  It has been a sad yet busy and often overwhelming time since then. Even though I had braced for this event since my father’s death 14 years ago, I find I’m not really ready for this transition. But here it is. In going through her things, I came across many photographs I’d never seen, like this one from 1933, when she was 9.

I also found every card that I ever made for her; I loved making cards for my mother, for everyone. Maybe I worked at Hallmark in a past life. This one will bring me comfort this Mother’s Day, my first without the need to make a card for “Mum.” That’s my sister, Bonnie, on the left, and me on the bottle.

My mother was a tough love kind of mother: pretty tough to please, but very loving when you did.
She appeared many times in my art over the years, even on envelopes.

I worked this same reference into an illustration assignment during college years at RISD, which had something to do with demonstrating a grasp of three point perspective, but perhaps shows quite plainly a family dynamic, with my mother at the top.

The scene above is of the pool at the motel where I grew up. Memories remain vivid of happy days there, but plenty more in the life chapters since then. In this illustration for The Plain Dealer, I tried to capture the benevolent acceptance that aging can bring. For some, anyway. My mum definitely mellowed with age, and my vision of her shaped this piece.
My relationship with my mother changed after my father died. She bounced back from that by checking herself into the hospital for a hip replacement, a sure sign of survival. She lived alone for several years, but stayed active with friends, and visiting our island.

When I wrote a story in a Picture Book Workshop at Maine College of Art back in 2002, I wanted to illustrate the various delights of an island summer. Seven Days of Daisy became a wait for Nana’s visit, and in real life there was much anticipation around that.

Even though she won’t make another visit, her mothering spirit must be in the air. Just days after her death, I was interviewed about the book by Ray Routhier for the Portland Press Herald.

I’ve lost my proudest fan, and the source of much inspiration, but her voice in my head will carry me through. Thanks, Mum, for all you gave me.


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  2. Jamie,

    This is a very moving tribute to your Mum. Mothers Day will be sad this year, but hopefully peaceful as well. I know you will find the beauty, you always do.

    All the best to you, Marty and Daisy,

    Jami G

  3. ah jamie,

    i’m so sad for you. you do her justice with this post, with your mothering abilities, with your art. hang in there, girl. let’s see each other this year? it’s been too long. xoxox. g.

  4. Its nice to see someone appreciate their mother like this. Great work!

  5. This is beautiful, Jamie. I never met your Mum but I recognize her spirit living in some of your writing of “tough-love” loving women.

    All those cards she kept tells it all.

    Love to you,


  6. Jamie,
    So beautifully expressed. I’m sending you warmth and light as you travel this bumpy road.

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