This morning, I received an e-mail from a reader of mine (I correspond with from time to time). She shared with me that her mother recently died, unexpectedly. She is ravaged with grief.
I once heard someone say (referring to his father who died), “I’ve never known this world without him in it.”
The world becomes fractured, a gaping hole left in the wake of our parent’s disappearance, despite how young or old they are, expected or unexpected their death. How do we go on? How do we ever feel safe again?
I wrote this poem a while back. Although I hope to become a centenarian, I don’t know if I will, so I want to make sure my babies understand, I’m not going anywhere-
In Case I Die Before I Wake, Just Know…
Can you feel me?
Can you feel my caress of your cheek?
Can you hear my whispers in your ear?
I am holding you now
Just as you cradled me for all those years
Now, I can do the same.
You have moved me like no one else
You have healed my heart with your eyes,
Your smiles, your sweet little hands in mine.
You are my earth, my sky, my sun—
Now, let me be yours.
In every gentle brush of air that strokes the leaves
Or light glistening on your arm as you drive
In the coo of the birds eating leftovers off the cafe table,
The cricket chirping outside of your window
And the rain drumming her wetness on the roof,
Know it is me, reminding you —
It will always be me.
An eternity of bedtimes—
Snuggled closely together,
Intertwined vines of legs and feet,
Leafing through pages of your books,
Love feasting on our womb of safety—
Even as the last book closes
We remain woven together,
As our bodies evaporate,
The root has knotted herself in soil,
Never to be untied or unearthed—
Mother to daughters,
Daughters to mother.
My touch, my hugs,
My kisses will become a memory,
Let my memory be your blanket
Wrap it tightly around your heart
Whenever you feel cold,
So that you know,
You are never alone.
I watch you by daylight,
I protect you by moonlight—
The wind will carry your prayers into my palms of devotion.
I see you
I hear you
Never question my presence.
And when you sleep,
Or go to the zoo,
Or maybe we sit and watch the clouds
I’ll help you reach out and touch them this time.
Ask me your questions of uncertainty
In the morning,
You will wake with the answer of understanding on your lips.
When you marry your love,
I will be the billow in your veil
As you birth your precious child,
I will be the echo in her cries,
The blink of her eyes.
I am your mother
And you are my children
This will never change,
Even though everything else does,
You are my legacy.
Hold me close as an urn of ash
And then, let me go
Spread me across the world
Scatter my dust in every crevice,
So that no matter where you go,
I am your footprint
Guiding you home.
I love you.