On mother’s day

The greatest joy, the greatest challenge
Being a mother
I am not sure why
God has blessed me with such angels
though they seem to offer so many opportunities
for doing things differently in life
Learning to be patient, compassionate, open
Trying to let them grow at their own pace
Thoughts of being a mother, lead to thoughts of my own mother
And this is where I get stuck
again and again
Stuck in that muck of not knowing
The why, the how
Of not being able to walk into
how she was or was not as a mother
Of not being able to mourn the loss
of her love, of her presence
She was right about so many things for me

And I do seem to mourn how distant we were those last years of her life- was it me

or was it her?

Or both of us, lost in this muck of life.


When I received the call from the hospital, it was a beautiful sunny day in Northern California

The Sunday of memorial day in 2005

I had just graduated with my PhD and I was pregnant with our first daughter

My husband was away gigging and the phone rang

My mother was in the ICU, throwing PVC’s, already several MIs

She was 500 miles away


What did I want done?

They said she would not make it, would not last the 8 hours until I could get there to say good bye.

So I directed them to remove all life support and let her go

I called my husband and he headed home

I sat and chanted for her, chanted her toward freedom in death


Two days later I saw her

at the funeral home

We had to wait while they prepared the body, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes

30 minutes to wait and this would be the last time. In two more days I would pick up her ashes

They rolled her body into the chapel, her face exposed.

She looked relaxed, salt and pepper hair, such few wrinkles

I stood their with my daughter in my belly, my husband at my side,

In this town where I had gone to college, and lived for too long

where I had brought her to after her first stroke.

And I said good bye and we cried.I had the feeling of the three generations together, though my daughter would never meet her grandmother.


I still have her ashes. I also have some of the ashes of my brother and now my mother in law as well.

What to do with these fine grains of dust

the dust of what once was, the dust of the memories that drift by

They do not somehow offer enough to connect her to me and me to her

I do still feel so unable to go there; how do I get to those feelings? How do I create a container for them to be viewed?

Unable to walk into the loss of the mother and remembering her all the same

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