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Journal of the Ladybug PDF Print Email
You might find it disturbing, you might find it beautiful.
By Birgitta Jonsdottir / Reykjavik, Iceland
Sunday, November 4, 2007
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Journal of the Ladybug
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Best of IMAGINE 2007 


My mother was one of those unforgettable people. She was a great musician, composer, friend, and catalyst. She did not, however, have the same passions for the role of being a mother. She knew and felt guilty about this fact in her later years. My picture of her is not the same picture most people carry in their memories. For them, she was a friend, a composer, a drinking buddy, and was fun to be around. Her love for others was not far from the unconditional love I so deeply craved as a child.

When she died, I decided to make new memories based on other people’s impressions of her. I am doing this in two ways: I am making a book of memories in a biography form, and I am making a day-to-day installation of death being part of my everyday life. In order for you to understand the process and the reason for the Ladybug’s journey, I will share with you something you might either find disturbing or beautiful. My aim is to make something beautiful from something ugly; my responsibility of creation is like this. I feel the pain; I transform the pain into joy. I experience death; I transform death into life. Grief is an evolution of loss. By transforming loss into gain, I can heal the wounds from the past.

My mother suffered from a disease, a disease that began when she was a child. It is called a severe, delusional sense of guilt. It started when her younger brother died in a car accident at the age of seven. She somehow got it into her head that she had something to do with his death; she didn’t lend him her yellow boots before he went off on his bike. During that time, no one talked about grief or loss. People just bottled it up and carried on. This guilt became larger than life and too much to cope with, and when she had her first taste of liquor to ease the disease, she was struck by another disease called alcoholism. The combination of these two diseases is usually lethal. And so, it was her fate to drink her talents, her voice, her music, and her life away in a haze of dysfunctional behavior, primarily toward herself. My mother lived in Denmark for many years, a self-made expatriate outlaw from her native island, Iceland.

She had one especially beautiful gift few people possess: She had the same respect for everyone, no matter if a person was a vagrant lady or the president. It was not unusual to have a person of the elite pay my mother a visit at the same time as a person from the streets of Reykjavik was using her sewing machine. She showed the same interest in people close to her as to the people she barely knew. Today, I see this as an almost enlightened state of being.

Last Updated ( Monday, January 7, 2008 )
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