Love: Virginia…So This is Their Mother

Virginia...So This is Their Mother
Virginia...So This is Their Mother

My grandmother, Virginia Loretta Gillin, was my mother’s mother. She birthed 5 BIG boys and 2 girls and had a hard life during the depression. She was widowed with 7 kids and later lost her daughter, my mother, when my mom was only 44. Though deeply scarred by both deaths, she never wavered in her matriarchal hold on our family. My grandmother was the most genuine person I have ever known.

I remember her warm, bear hugs and her sharp tongue. I remember canasta on long summer nights. I remember her honky-tonk piano playing. I remember a surplus of southern food on the table that I have never been able to duplicate. Rock on my bawdy Grandma. I love you.

If you’d like to hear more about Virginia, read…

To grandmother’s house we go, part one

To grandmother’s house we go, part two


This piece was inspired by the poem “Born” by Wislawa Szymborska. (Sorry, I couldn’t find this particular poem of hers online for the entire text):

“So this is his mother.

This small woman.

The grey-eyed procreator.

The boat in which, years ago,

he sailed to shore…”


Virginia” was created using Prismacolor pencils for the figure’s face, arms and hands. Her hair was painted with iridescent 3D paint. The dress was beaded with Swarovski crystals, a multitude of beads and a blazingly red, dichroic glass heart that speaks of the infinite love she was capable of during her long life. Her heart is pierced by an arrow—an indication of the heartbreak she endured. The ornate blue dress portrays her solid and genuine spirit, the white lace collar, her girlish side, which I loved.

8 thoughts on “Love: Virginia…So This is Their Mother

  1. so beautiful, your beadwork is amazing. You have put heart, and soul, in this work. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you. She deserves to be brought back to life. And her life should be celebrated. She was a talented person herself, making intricate tatted doilies. Grapes and leaves, that kind of work, until she lost her eyesight.

  3. Wow.

    That is all.

    Actually, no, I can’t just say that, I find brevity impossible. It’s beautiful.

    And I feel now that I am getting under the skin of the two previous posts. I read them several times today. They were so evocative, joyful yet sad and haunting. Can you talk to us about them some more?

  4. Thanks Emma, yes I can. The post about grandma from my point of view as a child is part of a larger story “My search for Mother”. Perhaps I’ll post it in it’s entirety soon. Just this one part was for grandma.

    To grandmother’s house we go, parts one and two were a UCLA writing exercise (memoirs). I wrote them 7 years ago this month.

    My grandmother was indispensable to me after my mother died young of cancer (from alcoholism). My uncle and grandmother died next. Three in a row kept the family running scared of the next shoe falling for all these (35) years.

    In this memoir, my intent was to compare an event from my point of view with another’s at the same scene. If you are really interested, I will make my next comment the text I wrote, in class, about that comparison. It’s from Jan. 2002.

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