Monday Morning Musings:

My mom and me. I’m about 3 years old.











“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 Mom’s Last Birthday Party
Remember when blowing out candles on a cake was something we did?










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

We spent a lot of time in this garden.











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


Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield











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.

Madelbrat (aka, Mommy Cookies









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.












48 thoughts on “Remembering

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!!
    ((( )))

  4. 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, 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. . .

  5. 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…

    • 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.

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