One day about a month before she left the planet, she turned to me with such a galvanizing look that I felt my feet suddenly get cemented to the floor. If I’d wanted to pay attention to anything else, I could not have.

Journey of the Soul

I’ve always said I’d be a psychologist if I hadn’t trained to be an artist. My family is full of them — my mother, her two sisters, and their daughters were/are all artists, although only one cousin and I do anything commercial with what we create.

If I had not fallen into the here’s-some-paint-go-have-fun-dear trap, and wanted to do something else, they’d all have keeled over in absolute shock.

My ma did wonderful pastel portraits of her friends’ kids, and simple, mellow watercolors of ocean, harbor and boat scenes from around where we lived on Long Island Sound.

At the rare exhibitions we twisted her arm to put on, she was a little mouse, hoping to not be seen. Which was so weird, because her work was good.

She was a funny combination of shy and outgoing, depending on who she was with, and what the occasion was — with us kids, she had an iron hand.

When she was riled about some social injustice, or helping raise money for a cause she believed in, watch out!

One time when I came to visit, long after I’d fled the nest, I was about to go out the door to go party, and she looked at me with big wide eyes, like a little scared doe, saying, “I wish I was as brave as you!”

This, from the same courageous woman who went after that dentist who raped me! She became a slathering, rabid dinosaur on the hunt!

Isn’t it funny, how we’re all made up of so many and such varied mini-personalities!

I’ll always cherish how we watched Princess Diana’s wedding together. It was right before my ma died. We sat in awe and wonder at the outrageous hats and flamboyant costumes of the guests, the rich pageantry, the gold carriages — gold! So precious, that time spent with her.

She was an avid sailor — cuss words and all — and you could hear her booming laugh all the way across the harbor.

Such a feast of opposites, she was.

My dad left the planet five years before she did. She told me she was so angry at him for leaving her behind she’d ‘give him what for’ when she saw him again in the Beyond. I believe it!

I miss her. She died at the age of 69, so young, still so vibrant. Still planning her next garden. A wee growth of cancer near her heart ended her, the little bastard.

One day about a month before she left the planet, she turned to me with such a galvanizing look that I felt my feet suddenly get cemented to the floor. If I’d wanted to pay attention to anything else, I could not have.

She said, so fiercely and so quietly I had to bend over to hear, “I wish I wasn’t so damn sick. I wish I could grow my garden again this year. I wish I wasn’t going to die soon. I wish the world wasn’t so weird and frightening. I can’t handle it.”

Having proclaimed her future to a T right on the spot, she turned and walked away as calm as if she hadn’t just brought the entire roof down around my ears.

She knew she was going to leave.

She flipping knew it!

And I didn’t want to hear it.

I ran up to her and hugged her and told her to hang on, it’s OK, I’ll help … babbling my face off … that I’d help her with her garden, I’d help her get well again….

She looked at me like I was crazy — like she hadn’t even known she’d said those things to me!

I was stunned. I dropped my arms. They felt like they weren’t attached to me at all, but were some kind of leaden anchors falling to the ground.

My ma! She was going to leave!

She continued walking away, and I became a marble statue. Frozen to the core. With a volcano in my belly, and my heart — I felt my heart break in two. I could hear it crack.

And I couldn’t do one single fucking thing about it.

You know how you can look back on your life and see places where you screwed up?

Well, I didn’t. I ‘done good.’

Because I decided in that instant that the only thing I could do was make each moment count between Now and Then.

So I did. And she felt it, too, I know.

I’d write more but can’t see very well right now.

Having a hard time keeping on keeping on, at the moment. I’ll be OK.


Thanks so much for reading my story. I hope it lit you up. Or maybe it inspired you, or made you curious, or gave you a new perspective with which to view and appreciate your own life. Or maybe take on a new exciting scary fun adventure! That’s my wish.



Image: The Journey of the Soul
© Angela Treat Lyon 2021
text © Angela Treat Lyon 2023

If you’d like a print of The Journey of the Soul, please contact me.

This is an enhanced version of the same story in my book, INSIDE SECRETS: Stories I’ve Never Told Anyone — Adventures. You can get the whole ebook at, or in print on amazon.


The art that saved my life:
Original paintings, drawings, and prints:
Original paintings and stone sculpture:

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You can also read this one on Medium HERE.


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