Categories
Grief Mothers Poetry

Bucking Up

She soars
Then tumbles
Turns this way then that
Clouds fill her vision
A dream-time acrobat
Free and unafraid
Yet still filled with dread

A low hum soothes
A baby’s cry
Igniting the world
Opening her eyes
She spies a lapel pin of wings
On a blue clad uniform
Remembering
Her mission
To be with Mom

Impatient restless
She settles on reading

Not understanding a single word
She returns to clouds
Soaring high
This time undisturbed
Until the bounce of a runway
Gathering belongings
She wonders
Panics
Will she make it in time?

Making her way
Through a safari of humans
She stumbles into baggage
Dizzy in fearful grief
Did she remember the driver?
But then
A sign held introduction
Dressed every ounce the mortician
Eases her

Her over packed bag
Hard to lift
Is surrendered
Into this black suit clad angel’s
Capable arms

Escorting her
Into the parking garage

His town car the confessional
She clears her mind
Unloading the burden
Sharing every detail
Her Mother’s story of woe…

The doctor’s diagnosis
Gentle but firm
Two weeks to two months
Mother asks what can be done
Nothing
Pain management
The consolation prize
Silence

Recovering her dignity
“Well it’s been a lovely afternoon Doctor”
A soft laughter fills the room
She is wheeled out still not believing
But none of us do
And we head home in silence
Bucking up

Now there is nothing left
Nothing but the cry of crows
Circling
Waiting
As she clings to the hope
That Mother will be blessed
With an easy exit

They wind through rain soaked streets
The skies crying for her

Frozen heartache
Somehow
Some way
She must
Buck up
Categories
Grief Mothers Poetry Spirituality Women Writing

Entering the Cave

The warehouse bedazzled
A cave full of riches
Smells from Mother’s world
Wafted through
Filling her with almost dread
Boxes piled high
Reflecting a life well garnished
Spying the highest box
The Daughter reached
As best she could
Tip toeing
Extending her arms
To where her fingers
Barely brushed
The cardboard
Arms stretched
Ascending, Scaling
Moving boxes
Becoming a metaphor
For final moments
With one push
One last empty extension
Her fingers somehow
Scooched the bottom
Flying through the air
A trunk full of treasures
Landed in her arms
She held fast
As a Mother
Cradling her newborn
The final bits of stuff
Fill the void
Of lost conversations
Each keepsake a delight
Post It notes
Strategically placed
Offer comfort
Her voice still alive
Mother becoming
A private tour guide
Post It notes leading the way
“George would die
  If he knew how much money
Cleo and I spent
decorating the house...”
 “We found that jade frog
  when we went to China…
  Don’t you remember?”
 ”And that silver pattern
is simply scrumptious..."
A second box?
Of course!
There is silver
Lots of it
Tons of it
No need for cleaning
Delegating the task
Each peace spit and polished
Just before packing
With blue Post It notes
Wanting to insure their purpose
Becoming Mother’s voice
Hearing her clear as day
Another box?
Please!
Pictures
Life with Mom
The Zoo
The park
Disneyland
High School graduation
Mom in her clowning days
Moving boxes and paper
Liter the landscape
While orchestrating a clean up
Of stuffed boxes filled with  paper
A photograph
Flies from nowhere
Mother
Kissing Daughter's forehead
Again
She runs the show
As well it should be
Another box?
Sure…
The third box
Less confronting
Crisp white linens
Way out of date
Mother loved to entertain
All cloth
No paper aloud at her table
Excepting, perhaps
A used cocktail napkin
Keeping linens unsoiled
Another?
O.K.
Treasure chest number five
This one particularly coiled
The ripping
The tearing
Each piece of tape
Reminding her of old wounds
Childhood promises unmasked
Undone, incomplete
Rip
Choosing the husband
Over the daughter
The child left alone
Silent
Rip
Promising an adventure
Then forgetting
The child left behind
Silent
Rip
Friends not knowing
Mom had a daughter
The child invisible
Silent
Rip
Silent
Rip
Silent
Pain unleashed
Tears stream
Each object
Each gift
Now a burden
Rocking
Hugging
Cradling her grief
Ah an explosion of warmth
A calming salve
Comforting
Consoling
Mother’s unbridled tenderness
Stopping cold
The flood of emptiness
Filling her heart space
With nothing but love
Lifting a pain soaked childhood
Now understanding
Mother’s deepest regrets
Were her own fears
Yet in her heart of hearts
The daughter always came first
Always
Tears flowed
Not from grief
But from
Abiding love
The boxes becoming
Once more
An adventure
A discovery
A delight
Another box?
Yes
The Daughter
Reaches into the next
Treasure trunk
Full of silver
Categories
Mothers Poetry Spirituality Women Writing

The Temporary Staging Area

A home for the recently departed
Where spirits mingle
And souls are wrangled
 
Walls of red-flocked paper
And black leather furniture
A coffer suggesting mourning
Framed comic book mortician humor
Hangs conspicuously about
Designed to stave off tears
But tear showers still down pour
So Kleenex lives close by
Just in case
 
The mortician's skin ashen grey
With almost pure white hair
Tussled with intent
Conducting an orchestra of grief
His baton raised in perfect timing
Costumed impeccably, all in black
Preening a three piece designer suit
Mother loved a man in uniform
 
Monetizing loss for sale
 
A remembrance card
With a thirty plus year old picture
Her beauty in full bloom
The backside
A four-line poem
From her daughter’s cache
Mother’s favorite
A plain black guest book
Simple yet classy
A pictorial review of her life
Framed for easy display
 
The flowers her favorites
White Orchids and Mums
Pink Roses sprinkled throughout
Displayed in abundance
The perfect backdrop
For her final cocoon
She loved center stage
 
The luncheon post service
From her favorite take out
Croissant sandwiches cut in half
And multiple side salads
With the requisite lemon bars
Soothed by a string quartet
 
The coffin
Her final home
Polished oak with clean lines
Bright red silk encrusted
Her favorite color
 
A theatrical addition
 
That the grief stricken might write
Messages of love
On the coffin
A 1960’s love van reinvented
Much to the mortician’s distain
He reluctantly agrees to the ritual
Bright colored ink pens
Become part of the celebration
As friends line up out the door
Waiting for the chance to say farewell
With a permanent magic marker
 
Her private world
 
Always dressing for the day
Donning make-up
Freshly styled hair
Wearing the latest fashion
Declaring when one feels lousy
One must look their best
To transcend the dark
 
Her hair softly curled
Sprinkled with grey
No need for heavy make-up
Not a wrinkle on her face
Leaving little to be done
 
The mortician’s fashion decree
 
Earrings must not dangle
But lay close to her ears
Did she have a red red lipstick?
 
Yes a favorite
She applied
Sans mirror
A practice to show her independence
 
Clothes are well chosen
An Asian style black silk
Two piece pantsuit
With appliquéd oriental red flowers
Compliment the bright red silk interior
Beauty always her cause
 
Jewelry in bounty
Covers her chest
With fingers wearing multiple rings
A turquoise laden watch
Adorns her wrist
 
The drum rolling coup de gras
Her red patent leather
Four-inch heeled shoes
Not worn for many years
Making their reappearance
The perfect fantasy adornment
 
The final act
 
Writing
The obituary
Filled with fine accomplishments
The eulogy
Filled with fond memories
 
As tears flow once more
Knowing there are no more days
To shop the latest trends
To enjoy a leisurely drive
To share a late late lunch
In a favorite restaurant
Where secret yearnings are confessed
And war-torn fears float on by....
Categories
More Stuff Mothers Poetry Spirituality Women Writing

Carpe Diem

 

Sleeping like…

Stopping herself mid sentence

The phrase too perfect to exclaim

She peered into the room

Where her Mother’s last days

Lived in a kind of innocent joy

Peppered with excruciating pain

 

Every day a journey

This one quiet and gentle

Her soft snore revealing nothing

Her open mouth seemed

Her soul’s easy exit

 

Lavender perfume

Purposefully administered

Abated the dull roar of transition

While friends whispered incantations

Of what still needed to be done

 

Once again she stepped over the threshold

Into an unworldly experience of love

A love almost unbearable

As passage seemed eminent

And all seemed in agreement

 

Perhaps one more rally

One more chance to share stories

But having not spoken in three days

It seemed impossible to imagine

 

She sunk into the bedside witness chair

And laying back to perhaps join her Mother’s dreams

She fell fast asleep

Awakening from a peaceful, dreamless sleep

She knew it to be her time to say good-bye

 

Placing her lips on her Mother’s cheek

Knowing it might be the final life kiss

She once again breathed in her scent

As flashes of childhood roared by

 

 

Whispering their secret mantra

“I love you so…always have and always will”

She took her leave without looking back

“I love you so…always have and always will”

She knew it was her time

Their mutual love might delay her passing

 

As if still in that dreamless sleep

She exited her Mother’s apartment

Walking down the hall

She moved through the front door

And as she breathed in the fresh air

She looked up into the sky

To see a new moon

 

Just three hours later

Her angelic caretaker

A buffed, soft spoken giant of a man

Witnessed her Mother’s last breath

He shared with the Daughter

It was gentle and sweet

 

And as Mother and Daughter

Celebrated a new beginning

A kind of metaphoric birth ensued

Both stepping soundly into a new life

Categories
More Stuff Poetry Spirituality Women Writing

The Eulogy

It’s challenging to hone down who my Mother was. She was so many, many things. She was kind, strong, innocent, charming, impossible, artistic, conservative, wild, enthusiastic, non judging, loving, indomitable….once she set her mind on something she wanted to accomplish you could never talk her out of it. Which is part of what made her such an incredible fund raiser…there was virtually no way to say no to her. She would charm the money right out of you.

When I was young she developed an addiction to alcohol. Mind you she never, ever neglected my well being but she would drink way too much at night and when she retired after marrying George the drinking was exacerbated. But once she realized that she was hurting not only herself but her family she was determined to quit. She stopped drinking close to 40 years ago. I call that true indomitability.

Some of you might remember when “Gone With the Wind” would play a yearly limited engagement at the local Cinerama movie theatre. Mom and I would go every year. By the intermission she would be crying like a baby…her favorite expression in life came from that movie…”I won’t think about that today…I’ll think about tomorrow”. That saying got us through a lot…anytime life looked bleak or difficult…”I won’t think about that today…I’ll think about that tomorrow”.

She never ever discriminated. This applied not only to race and creed but also to station. She was fascinated by people. Whether you were a bus boy at the local diner or the CEO of a fortune five hundred company, she saw you as equal. And she was sincerely interested in knowing what your life was like…”Do you like being a bus boy?…Are the tips good? Do you have a family? How many children do you have?”…

And she loved babies. If there was a baby within site she would immediately go over to it and tell the mother and/or father that their baby was the cutest baby she had ever seen. “Hello there little one…how are you?” The baby would giggle and the parents would smile…and everybody would be so happy…

My husband and I were unable to have children. But we have dogs…many dogs through the years. And they became her grand children. She would send us cookies for the dogs and toys and doggie collars. She never forgot Christmas presents for them. When we would be on the phone with one another she would always ask “So how are the doggies? Tell me what they’re doing…”. “Well Kobi’s napping right now and Oscar just got up from his nap and is walking outside…” “Really…why do you think they sleep so much?” Tough questions…her innocence was an intoxicating aspect of who she was.

But mostly I would say she loved. Deeply. She never got off the phone without saying…”I love you Kristina…always have and always will”. There were times she drove me crazy. But all those little things that made me crazy were also the things that brought me the greatest admiration for her. She loved. So much so that I thought at times our hearts would break in two. She fought such a good fight. And it was the love that brought her through many difficult times in recent years. Love was at the very root of who she was. It has become my legacy. I am going to miss her deeply. She gave me so many gifts through her experience of life. I am forever proud and grateful….I love you Mom…always have and always will. Thank you.

Categories
Grief Illness Mothers Poetry

Final Days

Passing through the doorway

Once more
I see her face blank
In drug induced pain relief
She stares out the window
Her moans a mantra of sorts

Pausing before reaching the bed
Now shocked more than grief ridden
Alice descends
Slipping ever more rapidly
Down the rabbit hole
A week becoming a month

Wrangling tears
“Hi Mom…I’m here”
Kissing her check
Our now standard greeting
Seeing her lips caked together
I touch a wet sponge to her mouth
The death bed’s childhood sucker

Dabbing balm ever so gently
Her lips part
A sigh of relief
As a three syllable moan
Becomes the echo of the day
“I love you”
And our secret language is born

Dragging a chair to her bedside
I take her hand
So dry and wrinkled
Never like this before
Changed in only one week
Taking lotion
Massaging her hands
She moans
Gentle, soft, approving relief
More words for this language of two

Laying my head next to hers
We both nap
Snuggling into a time
When sharing a bed
Cuddled into a ball as one
Where no demons could touch us
And everything fit
And time suspended it’s grip

Categories
Illness More Stuff Mothers Poetry Spirituality Women Writing

Sitting Shiva

Yesterday good

Today tough

Friends stop by

Burns her out

Telling them

Keep it short

Best friend here

Laughing

Crying

Having fun

I’m beat

Can’t sleep

Emotional wreck

Home Monday

Cross fingers

Till then

We reminice

Telling stories

Time together

Time apart

Letting go

Loving so

What a lot of work

 

xo

 

PS

Eating like crap

Major cleanse time

 

 

Categories
Illness Mothers Poetry Spirituality Women Writing

Whispering in the Moonlight

Whispering in the Moonlight

Frozen in time

She stands in the doorway

Waiting, wondering

Unable to contain her need

Calling out “Hi Mom…”

Her Mother’s eyes slit open

 

Even knowing the truth

Of time’s unending march

A breath of relief passes through her

Dropping winter’s gear at the door

She slips past the bedroom’s threshold

A metaphor too perfect, too strange

 

Feeling the inevitable parting

Tears well

She kisses her Mother’s cheek

The taste of crusted salt on her skin

Becomes the alchemy

The air thickens with heaven’s call

As memories of childhood play

 

Sobbing into Mother’s bosom

A rocking chair’s consoling rhythm

Becomes the medicine for a broken heart

Stomping through puddles

In brand new rain boots

That play with a thunderstorm’s magic

Imparting instruction in dinnertime etiquette

As the whitest linens and shiniest silver

Insure Great Grandma’s visit a success

 

Memories explode

Washing clean all attachment

And she wonders

Are they sharing the same?

Looking into her Mother’s eyes

An emerging smile widens

 

Filled with joy

Filled with the heart’s sweetness

She touches her cheek

 

Witnessing a face wiped clean of remorse

The heart opens even more deeply

 

Crawling ever so gently

Onto the very edge of her bed

A precipice opens

She snuggles

Ever so cautiously

Gently

By her Mother’s side

 

And the two spoon

Raptured in the gleam

While the room darkens into night

As Mother and Daughter

Whisper in the moonlight

 

Categories
Mothers Poetry Spirituality

Cosmic Mother

I haunted twilight
Hopscotching through a galaxy of window panes
My dreams filled with sharp corners
Slinking through worlds of tortured sorrow

But then…
She appeared before me
Filling my heart
Her essence an awakening
The moon’s crescent
Burned through my window
Celebrating a silent deafening desire
I sat drenched in Her silver light

Lifting my chest skyward
I flew
The sky filled my senses
Tickling the star’s underbellies
I sounded the mantras
Splashed rainbow colors across the sky
Breathing in Her glittering essence

Leaping from system to system
Drenched in space’s darkening slumber
I soared in timeless joy
All my fears had vanished
She fed my being so completely
I bowed in a puddling stupor before Her
Tenderly touching my brow to Her feet

Hitching a ride to an unknown star
I bent my neck backward
So as to receive Her healing
The silver nectar dripped onto my throat
Then slid slowly down my front
Into my heart of hearts
My very soul

The earthly Mother I never knew
The cosmic Mother I had always dreamed
Shown themselves completely that night
And as they shared their essence
I saw, knew, felt how they had informed
Who I am

My being

My light

My soul

The very immortal that I am

Categories
Illness Mothers Poetry Spirituality Women Writing

Fond Memories

Touching midnight
They wheel her through the door
Sleeping deep
Skin ashen
Breath shallow
The veil so thin as to touch
The other side

Dizzy with fresh rememberings
Once, twice, ten times daily calls
Filled with fitful non-sense
Then overflowing
“I love you forever
Always have and always will”

Just one more week
Just one more day of fond memories

Her eyes open
Smiling gently
I kiss her forehead
The scent of childhood fills the room
I breath in the sweetness, the joy, the pleasure

Fatigue of drug induced freedom
Overwhelms
She closes her eyes
Machines drone their rhythmic mantra
Her war torn heart filled with determination
To stay alive

Just one more week
Just one more day of fond memories

Holding back tears
As pure love streams forth
No longer burdened with the past
Sorrow spills
As these tender moments
Slip through a lifetime
Filled with remorse
Now filled with nothing but love

“This is the best day of my entire life”
She holds her hands tight
So as not to reveal the pain
” The best day of my life”

Just one more week
Just one more day of fond memories

Running my fingers through her soft curls
Sprinkled with grey
Wondering will mine be the same
The veil thickens

Rebuilding her strength
Days pass quickly
She rallies once again
Her devotion firm
Her love unrequited
She fills my heart with safety
My world with joy

Yesterdays slip into understanding
Understanding into respite
Respite into peace
Peace into pleasure
Pleasure into love…

Just one more week
Just one more day of fond memories