Thursday, August 7, 2008

I posted this poem here by accident, but decided to let it stay. For readers who don't know, my mother is in hospice care in St. Petersburg, Florida. At the time I wrote this reflection we thought she was in the process of dying and I believed I wouldn't see her alive again. I said good-bye to her in mid-July, and when I came home to Bethlehem I found myself getting tearful. My reflection on the meaning of my tears resulted in this poem. I had intended to post it on, which I eventually did. 

The meaning of my tears

Never again
       dear Mother …


I am
     Letting go of the thought of calling you
            the idea of visiting
             the urge to share a photo
             to sing for you

I am
    Remembering the hurts and slights
            the misunderstandings
            the differences that never reconciled
                    Letting those go

I am
   Conjuring up memories
              your sense of humor
                    black bean ice cream on April Fool’s Day
              your love of beauty
                     wild flowers in a meadow
             your common sense
             your passion for justice
             patience and enjoyment of Daddy
             Chinese food
             wind in your hair
             sun on your face

I am
     Remembering too your bouts of asthma
                  your bursitis
                  your occasional afternoons in bed

   You by my bedside as I wept for the world
   you on the bus listening to my confessions
   you at the airport bidding me farewell

  You with my babies, laughing
  with my children, walking
  with my grandchildren, holding

  Me at your bedside singing
  offering you water
   holding your hand
  watching your face
  waiting for your smile

Never again
     dear Mother
  And always and forever