STORAGE IS UNSOLVED PROBLEMS

I am my mother’s guardian, as her various illnesses make her incapable of caring for herself. Raised far away from her by my father and step-mother, I have spent a lifetime getting to know my mother through abstract means. In 2007, the family court judge ruled that he would no longer approve payments to her various storage units.  ‘Storage is unsolved problems,’ he wisely intoned. I ended up going through four tons of her belongings, including 78 boxes, some containing ephemera, photos, letters, documents, calendars. When I found her suicide notes, I stopped. I sent myself six boxes of things I didn’t want to lose, and went home. Last December I took a month to go through everything I had sent myself. I was at an artist’s residency, with a cabin in the woods to myself. I took my time. I read every word, put every photo in chronological order, sent off packages of things that belonged to other people, projected slides she took in 1958, and rephotographed the details. And as I went through this process, I felt my hold on the thread of her story start to loosen. This is what I made out of the experience.