My mother, my icon, got sick and died before we had a clue we were going to lose her. Only the good die young. She was 73. Pic: 1960, I was 10. She was 33.
I chose not to notice, Mama,
When you sat on the stairs out of breath,
Assuming you wanted to hear more of
My whining about teaching the empty-head youth
The counselors stuck me with when truth be told
You hadn't the strength to climb those steps.
I chose not to notice or worry,
When you, Mama, told me you quit swimming,
Because you, the athlete among us,
Lacked the strength to climb the ladder
Out of the pool. You who swam in Tahoe
When the water was fifty degrees.
I blissfully filled my days with the everyday,
Instead of devoting that last week to you.
Oh, I took off and raced down the coast,
My heart beating harder, tears on my face,
Finally worried, too late. You had agreed
To the breathing tube, "just to clear the lungs."
Your last words to us, written in shaky letters,
So that the older brother went to a writing
Expert, and when we learned the message,
"This is wrong," we had to do it.
Take the breathing tube away. Hold your hand
As it grew cold, like clay, like an inanimate thing.
Mama, you will never be inanimate.
You live in my heart. We talk every day.
I see your beauty. I admire your intellect.
I wonder why I was so detached and left you
To your thoughts. When we could have
Had some final laughs, some final words of peace,
Some words you longed to hear that I chose
Not to say.
I say them now. You were and always will be,
My sainted mother, though you did not believe
In saints. I would rub balm on the wounds
Of raising me, rebellious and zealous
And so cocky that at eighteen, we youth would
Change the world. I was fifty when I lost you.
I curled into a ball and cried. My brothers too.
I cannot remember the last months I taught
From April to June that year. Some robotic me
Went through the motions, and I cried each day
In my time alone on my dog walks until summer
When I was free to grieve all day.
Sometimes a scent reminds me of how you
Loved gardenias and flowering jasmine.
Or the oil catches fire as I try to make
Tortillas your way, and fail again.
The rush of a breaker as I tread deep water,
I'm short, the waves are high, but you
Taught me to make a choice quickly, to duck
Under or take the chance on the zooming,
Burbling salty power of the ocean we both love.
I miss you mama. There has never been
And never will be another woman like you.
You were a generation ahead of the 50s moms,
You worked because you wanted to,
And wore your hair in braids, so much easier
Than fiddling with a chignon. You made your clothes,
Mine too, and if they weren't Dior, who cared?
How I love to stroll through a fabric shop
And dream of outfits we could put together.
You come with me always and help me choose.
So I say to you on Tuesday, "Happy Birthday."
You never cared for fussing over you,
Or expensive presents or parties.
A bear hug from my hulky husband
You two had such a bond. Sending kisses
From my dogs, for you would have loved them
Like children. Hugs from my two kids
Who turned out well despite some of my "new style" foolishness.
And all the love of my 65 years wrapped up
In a dream and a poem sent to you.
But you know and always knew that, even when
I was afraid to say so.
Uncomfortable with the depth of loving you.
When everything I loved got taken away
By fate or human carelessness with others' hearts
My star, my joy, my example, the best of humanity,
In your lithe body and unflinching mind.
Missing you, Mama. Just missing you.
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|Reviewed by Diana Wiles
|A loving and heartfelt tribute from deep within, which I am sure would bring tears to your Mother'seyes....
Your words strike loud chords for me too.I knew my Mother was very ill and yet although we know these things..something steps into our minds which refuses to acknowledge what it may ultimately mean in outcome....it happened with my terminally ill husband too, and I have given it much thought....what I do know is it is borne entirely out of love and Hope and it is perhaps our mind protecting us from the unbearable...
Your family photo is so heartwarming...you have been blessed...
Love and hugs to you all...
|Reviewed by Michael Schafer
|Beautiful and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing. My condolences to you and your family.
|Reviewed by Ronald Hull
|We haven't heard from you in a while, but this mournful memory of your mother makes up for the absence of your pen. You can be grateful, like I am, although my mother is hanging on with many ailments, at 90, to have had such a wonderful mother to help shape your life and keep it grounded.
You just remounted me of a funny thing that happened yesterday that I need to send in an email to my mother. Thank you.
|Reviewed by Patrick Granfors
|Oh how much more rewarding and fulfilling, things might have been these past 10 years. One of a kind, an amazing heart and mind.|
|Reviewed by Edward Phillips
|A beautiful tribute to your mom, Eileen. Thanks for sharing.|
|Reviewed by CHANTI LACE
|Just beautiful and so loving ... Hugsss|
|Reviewed by George Carroll
|Powerful and loving poem which I'm sure she knew without reading it.|