I watch death crouching at the end
Of your bed pretending to be kneading
Your ice-cold feet and peering out beneath
Panther-black lashes shielding eyes the colour
Of hopelessness and something else,
Something I don't want to look at too
Closely so, brooding a little, I don't ...
You move your arms as if swimming
Or maybe rowing towards God
As Sexton would have you do, only for her
It was an awful rowing - for you, I would
Hope it would be something peaceful
But the longer the night goes on
The more I suspect the creek you
Are attempting to ford is likely the wider,
More dreaded, River Styx
And less the gentle journey
We would have delivered you
How did these stars, each a-flame
And popping, fly in tangential arcs
Until, ending up strewn like a celestial quilt
Across your bed materialize
I turn to ask your granddaughter
If she sees them too—she has nodded off—
I turn back and in the dimness of your room
The stars have flown off to points unknown
And you; against the dimness left behind
I see there is little of you left
I know you are close to going from us
There is nothing remaining for me to do
Except just to be here with you, just to stay
I can do that much, that I can do.
This is a wordle written with words from #89. As it happens, it's also an announcement as my mother died on Boxing Day at 8 a.m. and I haven't found a way to tell anyone with whom I write ... I was going to announce it at some of the poeming sites where I post, when it happened, but there were several deaths (one which felt very much more tragic, to me than my Mom's, as odd as that might sound)and then things got very busy here, as you might imagine.
Many of you know I had a very complicated relationship with my mother (an understatement to say the least) and her dying has had some complicated repercussions already and will probably continue to ...
However, I felt privileged to be with her when she died and for that I will be forever grateful. I have my youngest daughter to thank for that - Katy, who - even when the doctors said there was no need for us to come to the hospital insisted that she would go because even if her grandma was "lucid, or had clarity for seconds or minutes, she needed to know someone was there that loved her..."
In that moment, I knew she spoke truth and I also knew in that moment that my Mother was likely dying no matter what they were saying on the phone about only "updating us" about her condition. Nobody calls the family twice on Christmas night to "update" them. They were preparing us for the worst and I needed to listen with my whole being, not just my ears.
Anyhow - this poem is very much autobiographical. I'm also doing my small stones this time about Mom - similar to the ones I did for my brother two years ago if not exactly in the same vein. And all the while trying to let humour and sadness rule and not anger - and getting back to my therapist probably ... my family have been, as always, terrific.
I thought it only fair to let my other family - this community that have always been so good to me, and there for me always - to know my sadness as well as my joys and triumphs. And also why my performance may be even more erratic than usual (I hope not, but you know how it goes ...)
Thanks, though - to all of you - your presence in my life is invaluable ...