“What cannot be changed must be accepted.  What is accepted must be endured.  Back when we were a people on foot, running up and down the mountains, we lost our advantage.  People took our land, our children.  We accepted everything, except the loss of our children.  When you look at us now you will see a big hole in our hearts.  This is so our children can climb back in.  We go out to your world and come back, trying to decide which way to go.  The young travel to places they think will give them everything.   After awhile, they come home.  They stand in the plaza, looking up  at  the mountains, seeing our ancestors.  We older ones say nothing.  Isn’t silence better than a scolding?”

Empty Heart


I Am Home


Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

13 thoughts on “EMPTY HEART”

  1. Mom,

    Only ones like you with such a full heart can truly feel what the loss must be for those who lose their children.

    Thank you for loving us so.


  2. Serious question, Kayti.
    Is silence better than a scolding?

    I’m thinking about the Block family. I’m thinking that silence was not part of the equation.

    Were you and Dr. Advice silent in the face of derision?


    1. I hope we are not silent. The taking of someone’s freedom is unconscionable. Their entire identity is gone. Empty Heart was a series of 12 or so sculptures intended toeducate the public regarding the Indian children taken forcibly from their families and placed in “American” schools. The mother of our friend, Emmett Oliver now 98, was such a child at the turn of the century. The horrifying spectre of mothers clinging to a chain link fence to get a glimpse of their children has stayed with me for many years. The Holocaust, the internment of the Japanese-Americans fall into this category as well. The world needs to stay aware, and it needs people to make sure they do so since it could happen again.


    1. My great-auntie and my mother shared a narrowing of the eyes along with a frown of displeasure which usually did the trick. Happily, I inherited the “look” and used it on my children, grandchildren and students with some measure of success. You need to pinionthem and dare them to continue their bad behavior. You probably were a good child and a brief look was all it took!


  3. Those images of grief have haunted me these last few days.
    They are universal to motherhood. Whether the loss is through death, abduction or any other cause whether right or wrong, legal or illegal, it absorbs a mother’s whole being as she is impelled to seek resolution, for all time and above all else or be destroyed. Her will against all odds is a marvel to behold, as is her joy upon recovery.

    As a man, I feel the emotion but not the all-consuming power of it.


    1. Having experienced the loss of a child, I can speak with some authority. Unlike the pain of childbirth, which becomes a very distant memory, overcome by the joy of motherhood, the loss is always hiding somewhere in the recesses of ones heart.


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