The Space Between

Ode to Mama

Portrait of my mom by Kate Kunz
Portrait of my mom by Kate Kunz

Today is my moms birthday and she has disappeared. She did this once before, albeit years ago, when she announced to the family she was ‘off to Alaska’—with a much younger man who for all we knew was an axe murderer. She left no agenda, no forwarding address, no timetable. Turns out, she did have an agenda (we just didn’t know it) and he was an artist not an axe murderer so all was cool. But still. It was hard to shake off images of Into the Wild after getting THAT phone call from my impulsive slightly eccentric mama.

When I think about it, my mom has always been an explorer. She had six kids by the time she was 25 so I guess you could say that was her first big adventure. But motherhood was not the ‘be all’ for Joyce Luna, no sir. She was a renaissance woman before they coined that phrase for men.

She loved to speed skate and could glide over the ice like a breath of wind.

She mastered the art of weaving, dyeing and spinning wool, and worked her loom like a beautiful instrument.

She got her BFA while in her 50s, performed art at the Banff Centre and appeared in a beautiful short film about an Emily Dickinson poem*.

She is a sculptor, a print maker, a painter, poet and jazz musician.

No wonder the much younger man isn’t in the picture—he couldn’t keep up.

Happy birthday mama. xo

Footnote: My mom did not run off with a musician, which would have been my first guess. She was at Telus getting her cellphone fixed – whew!

* Beauty Crowds Me by Ric Kokotovich and Julie Trimingham



In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

2 comments on “Ode to Mama

  1. Shit! I forgot her b-day as we were on holidays!! Love your post…

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