Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War

Award-winning author MariJo Moore asked women from around the world to consider the devastating nature of conflict—inner wars, outer wars, public battles, and personal losses. Their answers, in the form of poignant poetry and essays, examine war in all its permutations, beginning in 60 CE and continuing into the 21st century, from Ireland to Iraq and everywhere in between - a Blitz evacuee, an ex-slave, an incarcerated mother, former military personnel, survivors of domestic violence, those who have battled drugs and disease, and many other courageous women willing to share their unique and timeless insight on the realities of war.

With contributions from Linda Hogan, Paula Gunn Allen, Lee Maracle, Kim Shuck, Laura ToheTerra Trevor, Linda Boyden, and numerous others, this moving anthology encompasses a wide range of voices. 

Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War
Fulcrum Publishing

Old Pictures of Mom

By Jen Hilzinger

My mom died suddenly a month and a half before I turned 31. She was 58. Glen and I had been married for 8 years and both of our older kids were home with us. She lived in Florida during the winter, but we had just spent a couple of weeks together over the holidays. Of course we were busy with the dealings of the holiday, she was busy traveling to all the relatives homes, trying to see everyone and catch up on all that she had missed since the last time she was here, and I was blissfully in the throws of being a mom of two busy little ones.

My mom always stayed to help, and by helping it usually meant holding baby E and now big sister M, reading books, daydreaming with me over coffee about what kind of people they were going to be. She loved bathing them and getting jammies on. She loved babies, especially at bath time. Johnson's Baby Wash was her favorite. I made sure to use it too. She loved teaching me all of the tricks and skills of caring for a baby and toddler. I loved listening to her. Of course I did not know that was the last time I would see her alive. I would have asked her more about letting teens make their own mistakes and always loving them though it all. And living with depression. She was expert at each.

I've been back through the photos of that holiday; I didn't get ONE good picture of her with the kids together. I can't believe I missed that. It was our first Christmas with son E home from Korea, and his birthday is December 25th. He turned one that year. My mom would be gone on February 12th without so much as a goodbye.

I now make a point to aim the camera at the adults in the room too, every once in a while. It was a hard way to learn that lesson. I learned a few other brutal lessons through losing her the way I did.

I remember the first day I was alone in our house after she died. All of the commotion of planning the funeral and burial were done, all the thank you notes had been written, although initially I was not sure what to thank people for. My pen hesitated on the first few notes, even toying with the idea of skipping this part. Perhaps that is why food is a part of funerals, you can thank people and feel grateful for at least the time and effort it took to bring food. It felt strange thanking people for coming to the funeral...

  • If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. —Barry Lopez, in Crow and Weasel