Saying Goodbye to Our Mothers for the Last Time include 35 authors/contributors, both women and men, who write about the death of their mothers. The volume is rich in variety, from different locations to assorted cultures and ethnicities, from ways of dying to types of funerals, from methods of dealing with loss to strategies for self-care. Some of these stories are elegant in their simplicity, others intricate in their complexity. Some incite laughter and others elicit tears. Saying Goodbye tells people’s stories, and like fairy tales and myths, these stories offer readers an opportunity to relate to the characters and vicariously experience their trials and sorrows as well as their joys and celebrations. Stories help us tap into these archetypes of life and death that are part of us all.
We asked our authors to write about something very intimate—the death of their mothers and thus the end of their lives with their mothers. Our purpose in creating this book is to take a lens to the transition from life to death, to focus in on that event and how people said good-bye, whether they were at their mother’s side or not. These are stories that need to be told—stories that will guide, warn, encourage, and inspire others when they must cross that threshold and say good-bye to their own mothers for the last time. It will also be a gift to those who have already lost their mothers, as these stories may provide solace and perspective.
Carol Thayer Cox teaches for Pratt Institute’s School of Art & Design and for the Art Therapy Program at George Washington University, where she served as assistant director for 10 years. Co-author of Telling Without Talking: Art as a World into Multiple Personality (W.W. Norton) and co-editor of Portrait of the Artist as Poet (Magnolia Street Publishers), she also has written numerous professional journal articles and book chapters. For ten consecutive years she was appointed to the editorial board of Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. A frequent lecturer at various universities and conferences, Carol is also founder and director of MUSE, a performing arts troupe that teaches psychological theory through the arts.
William A. Harrison III taught English for forty years at Northern Virginia Community College. During that time he marked and graded—edited—tens of thousands of student essays. He wrote occasional commentary for The Washington Post and edited the college’s 2000-01 self-study, a five-hundred page analysis of the institution required for re-accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He retired in 2009 and since then has embarked on a new career as an artist.