Monday Morning Musings:
“History says don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.”
–Seamus Heaney, “Doubletake”, The Cure of Troy
Lines quoted by Joe Biden at DNC 2020
My mother would be ninety-eight today–
we’d hug and kiss, and smile in the way
you do with people you love–when we could and did,
we never thought it all would end, we’d bid
farewell to normal hopes, and sail into tomorrow
on boats barely afloat, fueled by sorrow
and a bit of hate. Yes, for the dissembler and enablers
who’ve made the situation worse. The world’s more unstable,
increasing so every day. And yet they play with clichéd lines–
heavy-handed, rabble-rousing—creating conspiracies, signs
of the time and getting worse. The storms come, the fires burn
still the seasons, turn, turn, turn—
I walk and think of flowers, our year of sitting amidst blooms,
the garden a refuge of sort from boredom, doom, the rooms
that confined you—and us–as we kept you company,
week after week, watching for changes, hungrily
asking you to remember the past, but wanting you to see
what you could of now, of me,
and we ached, all of us,
and we’d discuss
each change, each day, the words you’d say
of imaginary pets and our dead father, weigh
hope, laughter, grief in equal measure
and still remember and treasure—
a gift you’ve given me, to lift my face to the sun
to see that there are many, not just one
way to see color, beauty, light
the way it changes on the water and fades slowly into night
where perhaps I’ll hear a mockingbird sing farewell–
a lullaby rather than a knell–
a song of love, of peace, of rising up–it’s time,
it’s time, that hope and history rhyme.
As some of you know, my mother died in April from Covid-related complications. Today she’d be ninety-eight. We couldn’t be with her when she died, and we haven’t really had a memorial. Tonight my husband, daughters, their spouses, and I will have a virtual dinner get together. I baked my and her favorite cookies over the weekend, and I’m baking a cake today.
On Thursday, my husband and I had a date night at a winery. We bought tickets a month before, but we were fortunate that the humidity was gone that day, and it was beautiful.
Your poem – an ode to your mom – rings of love and truth and hope and cheer that you are your mother’s daughter. Here’s to the lullaby of love – sweet and always in our hearts – and to a rousing song of joy when history and hope join in a chorus of change.
Thank you so much, Pam! ❤️❤️
What a lovely tribute to your mother, Merril. May you find peace in the sweet memories you hold in your heart. I’m happy you and your husband had a nice time at the winery. The photos are great. Your husband always takes a memorable picture!
Thank you very much, Jill. I appreciate your kind thought and words. And as for my husband’s photos–😀.
Beautiful tribute to your mom, Merril. Reading it brought me back to mine, and her final goodbye. ♥
Thank you so much, Gwen. I hope you have some good memories. ❤️
An exquisite tribute, hope and sorrow mingled, Merril. I especially liked the lines, “we’d hug and kiss, and smile in the way you do with people you love–when we could and did, we never thought it all would end, we’d bid farewell to normal hopes, and sail into tomorrow on boards barely afloat.”
I said goodbye to Mother in 2014, when she was 96. She would be 102 now.
Memories still alive, still abide!!
Thank you, Marian. I know it was difficult for you to lose your mom, and then other family members. I’m pleased you thought this somewhat rushed poem was exquisite. I appreciate that you read and comment, and I appreciate your kind thoughts, too.
I so enjoyed this poem, Merril.
Yes, a sad note, but with hope and joy rhyming.
Happy 98th! Have a great night, Merril, virtually!
Thank you very much, Resa!
A beautiful tribute to your mother and your journey with her. I love that quote and how you wove it in.
Thank you so much, Janice. I really like the verse, too. Apparently Biden read a lot of Heaney and Yeats aloud to help with his stuttering.
I was very moved by your poem. I’m so sorry you had to lose your mother that way. My mother died last November, and as painful as it is, I’m thankful I could be with her holding her hand when she drew her last breath.
Thank you very much, Liz. I’m so sorry for your loss–not very long ago. We were with my dad when he died–over twenty years ago–but this whole situation with my mom was so awful. I think the last time I saw her was in February.
You’re welcome, Merril. I don’t think the gut-wrenching suffering and sorrow brought by this pandemic has been acknowledged by those in authority–and it needs to be.
No, it hasn’t and most likely won’t be. And there are so many people who are suffering all sorts of complications, as well.
I don’t think we’ll know the full extent of the damage for years to come.
It’s never easy to lose a mother, but yours was particularly hard. I’ll raise a glass to you all, wherever you are 🙂
Thank you so much, Jane. Much appreciated. I did open a special bottle of Italian wine I’d been saving. 😀
It wasn’t a Barbera d’Asti was it? That’s what we had yesterday.
That would be funny. No, an Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
One of my favourites 🙂
Of course it is! 😀
Beautifully crafted reminiscences. I do admire your husband’s efforts to get into his frame.
Thank you, Derrick.
I took a series of photos with my husband doing goofy poses, but I just selected this one. 😀
He is good at goofy 🙂
Hahaha. I’ll tell him that. 😀
This made me very teary. Both for the elegy for your mom and for the elegy for our past way of life. XOXO
Thank you, Luanne.
Yes, I was looking back at photos from last year (and crying, of course). It was so sad and stressful that we were going once or twice a week to help care for my mom, but then we were also taking trains, visiting museums, going to shows and restaurants. . .
Yes, you had the little rewards for the trauma you were going through. And now the sadness about your mom and the old days is probably a bit intertwined. You will always have the blessing of the memories with your mom, but so much sadness to have all that stress in her last days.
Yes, that’s it exactly, Luanne. The stresses of the last couple years plus the pandemic, plus her death (and Mickey the Cat)–it’s all intertwined.
My cat Mac died a month after my dad died. That is all intertwined too, and we didn’t even have covid then.
This was a beautiful poem for your mother, Merril. The love oozes on the page, so to speak.
Wonderful date with your hubby, too!
Seems you have mastered this format…
Thanks so much, Dale. That is very kind.
I did this one through the way you said–though you can see the spacing is still off.
Ah hah! Spacing is not too bad and easily fixable. 😉
I suppose. 😏 Thanks.
Mommy cookies. lump in throat
Thank you, yes. Though actually, my girls called them Mommy cookies because they’re my favorite (there are different cookies that are Daddy cookies), and then I would often make them for my mom.
I am so very sorry on the loss of your mother; this is such a beautiful tribute.
Thank you so much, Linda. Much appreciated!
This is a beautiful. loving tribute, Merril.
Thank you very much, Ken.