Back Stories part 2 “In Memory Of…”

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Perfect Peony

Friends Parted: I think a friend moving away is just about one of the hardest things in life. My dear friend moved back to the UK with her family. Although we have all of the latest technology at our fingertips, we found very soon that it was not at all the same as having weekly lunches together. Directly after the move, I found I would think of her many times each day. Thoughts of her would come anytime, anyplace, and I’d want to share a glance or tell her something that I had just heard. I am still sad that she is gone. Directly after she moved away, I found that I was having to force myself to, “look for life’s colors.” Looking for life’s colors, and realizing they are everywhere, always cheers me up.

Peaceful Place: This was written for my friend who moved to the UK. As I wrote this, her father was dying of cancer. I hoped that she would come to realize the peaceful acceptance her father would come to terms with, in the last days of his life. I hoped also that she would come to accept that peacefulness, and the reality of its existence. Losing a parent is extremely difficult, and I knew that she still had much to experience during this time. She needed to depend on her friends and their willingness and desire to help. They could be there to ease her through a time they knew would be difficult for her. You may feel the need to distance yourself while going through times of grief, but friendships are a wonderful support in such stress filled times.

Ebb & Flow: I thought that I was done with poem writing for my friend when the telephone rang one day. It was my friend from the UK on the other end. I knew by the sound of her voice that something was wrong. She told me that her father had passed away. We knew it was coming but a turn of events had hastened it along. I think when she phoned, she was in a state of shock. I felt very far away from her and wished that I could hop on a plane to be with her. I could not do this and so I sat to write this last poem with the hope that it would help to console her. I could only pray that it would bring her the comfort that I was geographically unable to show her. When we have a sudden change in our lives, we often feel alone. I believe that our friends and family feel our pain and inwardly grieve with us. It can be quite calming to tap into these people who desperately want to help us. Friends and family can and will support you.

A Breath In Time: Our longtime family friend suffered with a very long illness. He had definite wishes that he wanted us to help fulfill. We clearly knew what his wishes were but his spouse just couldn’t come to terms with him dying. I wrote this about him so he would know that we had tried to help her understand his wishes. She needed time to realize that she could let him go and she also needed time to help her cope with losing him. They had been everything to each other. They were best friends. We were there for him but we were there too, for her. Though it seemed like she needed a long time, it was also but a breath in time.

Firsts: When you take a baby home, you seldom think about ever being without that child. There comes a day when they pull away to chart their own adventures in life. It is the natural cycle of life for them to do that. Understanding this doesn’t necessarily make it easier, as a parent, to let go. We found this to be true when giving away our daughter. It was a very big change for us and it did give us a great feeling of loss. It’s many years later and we have amazing grandchildren. Looking back, we still feel a sense of loss because we still remember holding her hand, giving her a kiss, and all of her firsts with us, each and every time we have those moments with those equally amazing grandchildren.

Intertwined: A friend of mine lost her son in an accident. I could see how very deeply this touched her. As I sat in the service, I could see that he had a joy that showed each time he smiled. I know that looking for and finding joy is a very difficult thing to do, after someone you love has suddenly passed away. We are ill-equipped to handle these things in our lives. They were very close and I do believe that he would want her to find her smile and have happiness in life. She does cradle the most wonderful memories of him.

Johnny Curry: My youngest son went off to college and had just gotten himself settled into his dorm room when we met this extraordinary young man who was going to be rooming across the hall. He held out his hand, introduced himself, and gave us the biggest, broadest smile that I had ever seen. It was like he wanted us to remember his name. I surely did. I thought my son was quite lucky to be across the hall from him, and he played guitar, even better. What I didn’t know, the first time I met him, was that he had an aggressive form of brain cancer. What an amazing family he had, to allow him to go off to college with such an illness. They were letting him lead his life. I listened to his songs and took away the message that he was trying to send. He was an amazing person. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to have met him.

Garden of Time: I have a friend who was about to have surgery that was very risky. She is an avid gardener and I thought it appropriate to write her a poem that depicted her love of her garden. She came through the surgery very well and with that, we do have more time to spend in her garden. Time is something that you can never make more of. It is so important to spend time in a wise manner. We often don’t think about it while we are moving through our day, but time, once it’s gone, does just slip away.

Thoughtless: As our children grew, we volunteered in many of their activities. Through those activities we have met a lot of people. We’ve gotten to know some better than others because our paths have often crossed. I have been teaching piano for many years and some of those people that we have met have had their children take piano from me. We were out hiking in the Sierra’s, this particular Fall, when our friend suddenly passed away. My heart was very heavy for his young adult children. I knew them better than most because they had taken piano from me. I knew, though, that they had this love of music and that could help to heal them each and every day going forward. When you have times in your life that are difficult, try to find some soothing music that doesn’t have lyrics. Look for music that sounds good to you, that you may have never heard before. Music can help heal your soul.

If: I wrote this poem for my father’s eulogy. That’s something you never think you’ll need to worry about doing while you’re a child. I wrote this while on a plane. I wrote it about the place that I thought he liked better than anyplace else that he had ever lived, Santa Cruz, CA. He taught me lessons that he didn’t know he was teaching me and I am thankful for those lessons. He gave us all he had to give.

Our Dearest Mother……..: My mother-in-law had eight children. She was nurturing and showed her children kindness, patience, truth, and vigilance. All those things that we associate mothers doing for us. She loved her children, her garden, and her many grandchildren also. That is why I likened her poem to her children, their children, and the garden. We can learn much from individuals like her. I know that I certainly watched and have implemented some of her ways with my own children and grandchildren. She did plant the seeds of kindness and nurturing in all of us, young and old.

Imprints: My grandmother was a woman who I thought was very strong. I went in search of her hometown once I got older. I felt that there were many things that I did not know about her and I felt a bit of a loss that I hadn’t known her better. One of those things that I had failed to notice was that there was a child who lived within her heart. I also had not noticed that it was from her weaknesses that she found her strength. Her hometown of Stony Creek, Connecticut is the kind of place you might not ever want to leave. She went back when she was older to renew her memories of the place. I went there too, and now have wonderful memories of my own.

Oceans Blue: When writing about my mother, I don’t know where to begin. I think we all feel a bit that way about our mothers. Mine did everything in her power to go to heaven. She did embrace everyone and she wanted everyone in heaven with her. I can’t remember her ever saying unkind words to others. She always was preparing for the next day. She taught me a lot about who I wanted to become. I wanted to be there for her and she was very thankful for that. She thanked everybody for any little thing that they might ever do for her. She was one of a kind, that mom of mine.

Sixteen Years: I had a former piano student who passed away in an automobile accident. It was very unexpected. When something like this happens, it shocks your system. You try to make some sort of sense from what has just happened. It is impossible for me to tell you how horrible I felt for his family. I sat down to hopefully write a poem that might help them. Images of him and his family just poured through my mind. These words just flowed to the page. The rhythm of it, like a song. Those same images still fill my mind today, not unlike reflected images in two mirrors. They seem never-ending. He was so full of life and laughter. I pray his family can find their way together, to share life and laughter once again.

Life’s Wrinkles: I wanted to end this book with a lighter poem that I had been thinking about writing for a very long time. For as long as I can remember, when I haven’t seen someone for a long while, I have wanted to cup that person’s face and draw my thumbs across their cheeks to smooth their wrinkles out. A peculiar thing about myself, I know. As we grow older, we can change so much that we don’t look like ourselves anymore. With that being said, our wrinkles tell so much about us. Some people acquire more wrinkles when they smile. I like these wrinkles because it tells me that they have spent much of their lifetime, happy. What a joyous way to travel through life. Other people seem to have a permanent frown etched in their face. Then it seems like that look has just been set in stone as they found little to smile about. When I was very young, I knew a woman who had the most beautiful crows-feet when she smiled. I thought they made her face light up. She didn’t like them. I loved them and thought I would like to have crows-feet one day myself. I have been thinking about wrinkles for a very long time. I can put them to rest now as I’ve written about them, they are in their place, and I can revisit them any time I like. Poetry or the act of writing and saving your work can do that for you too.

My new book is called “In Memory Of…” and can be found at Author House, Amazon.com, or purchased through Barnes and Noble (Print on Demand). There is a colorful e-book version as well. You can get a signed, hard cover copy by writing me at bon73sc@gmail.com. I wrote it with the idea that it would make a nice gift for family or friends when they were going through a time of grief. It is something a bit more personal than a sympathy card. This is by-far the longest blog I have ever written and I apologize for that. This blog puts true meaning to those poems I have written. I hope you look for my book.

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