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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

A Letter to My Deceased Mother

I like to write letters when emotional pain builds up. I've been writing letters to my mum since she died from cancer in 2014. This is one I wrote in 2022.


Dear Mummy Dearest,

I went through the photos on my phone yesterday, trying to organize all of my artwork into one folder. I came across the artwork I made as you were dying. I forgot how strongly it felt. The art was dripping in pain. I have not felt that way in a long, long time.

I hope that brings you some comfort.

Watching you slowly die was horrific. Watching you be in pain - you already know, it does something to your soul. I will never be the same person.

I know you didn’t want us kids to see that.

I know you didn’t want to “put us through that” or “leave” us.

I wish you didn’t have to go. I wish you got to experience a full life.

I’m also grateful though that you let me experience the end of your life. That you talked to me about what it felt like, mentally and emotionally. I know you didn’t like to talk about the physical pain - that was something we saw.

Art Therapist Jackie Schuld shares a teal abstract painting reflecting grief
An abstract acrylic painting I made in 2015, as I grieving my mother's death

All of us, well, I mean those that lived with you at the end, what haunts us are the moments you were in pain. Like a suffering animal.

We’ve all dealt with it in our own ways. I’ve gone to therapy. I’ve made art. I’ve made books. I’ve journaled. I’ve written essays.

The pain does lessen with time. It comes up randomly though. Like finding that art.

I’ve found that it’s better for me to explore it, talk about it, make more art about it, and move it through me. I guess that’s partially why I’m writing you.

I miss you so. Life would be so different with you here. I like my life, but I know it would have a richer quality with you in it.

I have a dog now. I think you’d like him. Dad told me he was like your first dog. I didn’t even do that on purpose.

Life is quite good. As I write this letter, I’m curled up on my couch, the windows open to let a light breeze in. Egon sitting on the porch to watch people go by. It’s quite nice.

I’m not sure all the ways you are helping me from there, but thank you. I’m open to any ways you want to keep helping me.

I’m not sure how the laws of energy work wherever you are, but just in case you need a request to be released to move, can you please help my siblings? Can you please show up in their dreams or do whatever it is you can to help them where they are? They could use some guidance, and who better than you?

Though truthfully mom, sometimes I think we’ve struggled after you died because you did so much when you were here. Your love poured out in so many physical ways. It’s like everything else pales in comparison. No one will love us the way you do. And they shouldn’t. It wouldn’t be healthy.

But that has also been a hard thing to accept. That I will never be as loved, cherished, and cared for as I was by you.

Thank you for that. You did a good job while you were here. I hope you know that.

I Love You,

Your Baby Bird


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