Nancy Townsley’s ‘Shades of a Mother’

Author Nancy Townsley recently had her essay, “Shades of a Mother,” published in The Riveter. The piece offers a blend of memories, research, and interviews, offers a stirring portrait of the effects of a mother’s mental instability on a family and emphasizing the importance of addressing women’s mental health issues.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Every day now, twice a day, my father gets in his car and drives ten miles each way to sit by my mother’s bedside and give her sips of water, smooth her silky hair, kiss her unmoving lips. “Isn’t she pretty?” he says, and means it. He hasn’t been to church since we moved her out of their home, and for a long time he was angry with the Baptist and Lutheran gods of his youth and young adulthood. I don’t know if he still prays, but when I do (and that’s rare), I petition the keeper of the universe to free my mother from her demons. I like to think that even as she continues to decline, the perpetually half-empty glass of her life will become half full of all the things she missed out on before — calm, breath, kaleidoscopic color.”

Nancy’s essay about writing while running was published in Brave on the Page, which she copy edited for Forest Avenue Press, and she’s a longtime community newspaper journalist.

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Forest Avenue Press is the home of the Main Street Writers Movement, which launched Feb. 9. (Parades welcome.)
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