Searching for My Mother’s Memory

Memorials and Remembrance / Memorials and Remembrance : Eleanor Haley

piano that my mother used to play

I have a story to tell about how, once upon a time, I lived in a little white house with my mother, father, three sisters and two brothers. The house was often messy and always noisy.  It stood tall against the abuses of 6 rowdy children, its worn in carpet padded the knees of newly crawling babies, and its rickety windows aided and abetted teens in way past curfew.

This house was the backdrop for almost all my childhood memories and it is where I last remember catching a glimpse of the familial bliss that defined my younger years. It’s the last place I saw my family together, happy and whole, and if my mother’s soul had not been bound for heaven I’m sure it would have gone straight here.

In my dreams, she is still in this little white house, and nothing has changed except for me.  It’s still messy, the paint is chipping and doorknobs are inexplicably missing.

In the living room, my brother has the TV turned up way too loud and one room over my mother sits, glasses on, flawlessly playing the piano, totally undisturbed by the commotion going on around her.

My mother’s been gone for 6 years now and I live 360 miles away from my childhood home. So much has happened in this time and naturally a lot has changed. But last week I went home, my own two children in tow, to try and find those places where my mother’s memory exists. 

I wanted to photograph these places and tell you all about it, but finding her was far harder than I expected.  I’ll still tell you about it one day soon.

To be continued.

To read more about the intersection of home and grief, check out the following articles:


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