Endings to Beginnings to Endings



This may be my mother’s last move. We fold old years into new boxes; rearrange the past to fit the present. But somewhere, in some bit of time-space, the what was, still is. I stare at a painting on her wall. There’s a small red figure among the winter birch trees. Have I never noticed it before, or have I forgotten? It has always been there. I see it now.


Silvered bare branches

in moonlight they dream of spring–

leaves fall, new buds bloom


A Haibun for dVerse, where Björn has asked us to write about a beginning.





56 thoughts on “Endings to Beginnings to Endings

  1. This is so moving, Merril. isn’t it funny how we take certain things for granted?
    I hope she adapts to her new room… hearts and hugs to you all.

  2. I understand the “fading,” Merril. As you say, leaves fall, new buds bloom . . . memories hold fast, linger – the precious paintings remain.

    I’m glad you are not alone in these moves, very painful.

  3. O my goodness Merril. I hope the move goes well. Strange how it is that we see whatever it is, a red item in this instance that has always been there, only at the last moment. All best wishes to your Mother and you all in this move –

  4. I’m with you in this melancholic piece and poem. We’ve moved my mom four times in the past five years, each place for the additional care she’s needed, each room a bit smaller. Now, she has no paintings left on her walls, just a bulletin board that we set up with photos of her family and of her in younger years. She doesn’t understand these photos, but it helps us to look at them when we visit, and I think it helps the staff to understand who this woman once was. Peace to you, your mom, and your family, my friend.

  5. This is beautiful, Merril, and very moving. So much of life is hard. And yet, there is still beauty (which you clearly see). There is no easy answer to this stage of life.

  6. Oh Merril, my heart goes out to you. It’s so difficult. I went through much of the same with my mom. She lived with us for 8 years, and then her care became too great and we were left with no other choice than a home where she could be cared for. I understand your torment and sadness. Sending you and your family light and love.

  7. First – apologies for the late read. I posted on Monday and then got to packing and organizing and arranging…as we flew from Boston to San Diego yesterday. We are in a rental here for the next two months to escape Boston winter for a bit.
    I LOVE this haibun. Most especially these words We fold old years into new boxes; rearrange the past to fit the present.” For those of us who have had the parenting role shift…to parent our ageing parents including moving them into a place closer to us (or assisted living etc)…this is just a beautiful statement. It marks a new beginning that gets ever closer to an ending we know will come.

    • No need to apologize, Lillian. We are all so busy, and it takes time to read and comment. Yes, those Boston winters! The first year my daughter lived there was a really bad one. Enjoy your time in San Diego. Thank you for the kind words. We moved my mom into her independent living apartment about 7 years ago–just before she turned 90–not really thinking we’d be moving her again.

  8. You (especially) and your family (including your mom) are in my heart. I cannot imagine how it feels for you to go through this slow decline with your mom. Your narrative and poem are both so beautiful, so poignant, so succinctly expressed so every word counts. I love every phrase, every word. My mom still lives independently although there are of course limits and, at least when she’s in NY, she has the good fortune to have several of my cousins as well as a couple of my siblings tending to her needs, essentially enabling her to live alone (it indeed takes a village). But she is becoming more frail. I hear it in her voice, and in her own acknowledgment that she can do less and less. Her world is becoming very small. She’s fine with that so far, but I wonder how far. She had a urinary tract infection several weeks ago and had to be hospitalized. The infection was cleared up but before then she told my sister she was ready to die. I think she still is, it’s just a matter of when and how. We (as well as herself) have taken her good physical and mental health for granted all these years. The UTI was a wake-up call, but I think everyone is becoming complacent again. Maybe she’ll continue to surprise us, but I worry about her quality of life. Well, you have much greater worries. I hope the move went well and your mom adjusts in time. Again, holding you all close in my heart.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. My mom’s move is coming up in a few days. I hope it goes OK and that she adjusts to the new place without too many problems. It seems there is some crisis involving her care or the move every day.
      I’m so sorry that you’re facing this–long distance–with your mom. I guess UTIs are very common. My mom was tested a few times, but never had one. I hope your mom is feeling better and also feeling better about her life. We really thought my mom was going to die last summer, but now we’re pretty much convinced she’s going to outlive all of us.
      And on a different note–I’m trying to remove the period from your middle initial on the page proofs each time your name appears. 🙂 I hope this works. (There are some things the copyeditor did not catch. . .).

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