pictured words

a simple pairing of pictures and poetry

Tag: Family

MOM (a tribute)

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I.
You told me of the love in my eyes for you
when you first held me in your arms
the day I was born.
Is it any wonder.
I knew you, and had already experienced
the gentle warmth that was you.

II.
All my friends thought me the luckiest girl
to be able to call you mom,
even though you didn’t tolerate misbehavior
or disrespect. They saw the love right through
the discipline.  I tried to emulate you,
but it seems that isn’t the same as
it being a part of who you are.

III.
I saw how the mention of you
brought warm smiles.
Your gentle demeanor,
laughter, and love
were contagious.

IV.
I understand being an introvert,
and I ponder with amazement
how you dealt with that part of you.
You could have written a “how to,”
I believe. I understand more and more
the sacrifices you made.
The way you encouraged others,
and always had a kind word to offer.
The way you treated everyone
with the same level of respect.
Fiercely loyal to those you were closest to,
in ways that had to have been draining.
But we didn’t see that you were drained.
You would simply go “rest [your] back
for a few minutes,” or “rest [your] eyes.”

V.
You were my moral compass,
and still are.  I feel your nudges.
I hear your gentle voice. I pray
I inherited more of you
than I see in myself.
From womb to death,
and now beyond,
I thank God for the blessing
of you.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

All About the Love

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Dad was a teacher, a band director, and a professional musician.  In all of these professions, he was my father.  I was always learning in his presence.  He gave everything one hundred percent.  I hear, in his voice: “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”  “Take it with you.  If you need it, you’ll have it.”  “Do your best.” “Practice right.”  “Never look back.  Just move forward.”  “No regrets.” “Love is the most important thing.”

All of it, important.  All of it, useful.  All of it, wise.

There were times I was privileged to witness him at his core.  Times that planted pride and love in my heart that I can hardly express. One of the things that made my knees weak came very late in life.  I was sitting with a now extremely fragile man who was watching the love of his life slip slowly away, due to Alzheimer’s.  “I’m not sure how to handle the coming day when I go to her room to kiss her goodnight, and she doesn’t know who I am.”  My heart.  The conversation was one of the hardest of my life.  But also one that showed me he was still, in his elderly and fragile state, my father.  As we talked about dark days ahead that could begin any moment, he gave me advice that encompassed all he was:  “No matter what happens, remember her love.”

Love enthusiastically.
Love takes practice.  Practice daily.
Take love with you.  If you need it, you’ll have it.
(You’ll need it.)

Thank you, Dad.  Thank you.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

DEAR MOM AND DAD,

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Dear Mom and Dad,

Having devoted grandparents made my childhood something special.  Holidays were spectacular, with wall-to-wall cousins and outstanding meals — Irish on one side; Italian on the other.  Summertime meant choosing a cousin to spend a few nights at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  I suppose you probably knew, but we were kind of given free reign, and ice cream and nonpareils rained freely.  Those were fun years of my life.  I miss the years, and I miss my grandparents.

I don’t miss them like my kids miss you.  We didn’t have the special closeness my kids had with you … the kind where they weren’t sure they could ever live without you.  The kind where they spent their lives fearing the inevitable.  The kind that took special grace from God to go on in the wake of losing you both within 35 days of each other.  The kind that begs, “Just one more day.  Just one more conversation.  Just one more hug.”  The kind that made their lives richer for the living, a bit shattered in the leaving, and grateful for every shared moment.

A love worth the loss.
This is who I want to be
To my granddaughters.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

GIGGLE GOADERS

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Laughter with cousins, next generation!  Keep it coming, fam! 

Frazier, Moonstruck, Princess Bride,
Cousins on my father’s side,
Husband’s laugh that fills the house,
(“What’s that roar?!” “That’s just my spouse.”),
White folks dancing (should be crimes!),
Silverstein’s and Nesbitt’s rhymes,
English Bulldogs, a good pun,
Babies’ giggles … guess I’m done.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

FOR SOPHIE AND IZZY (our Rosie and Bean)

Four little loved feet lived a few feet away
‘Til they moved to St. Thomas’s lush Caret Bay.
Abruptly, an ocean and 2,000 miles
Created a chasm, and dampened our smiles.

But then they moved closer (no ocean to cross)
And the far-fewer miles seemed less of a loss.
“It’s all relative,” as the old saying goes,
But oh how we still miss our Bean and our Rose.

Now all of a sudden, life’s changing again!
We’re all looking forward to Saturday, when
Four little loved feet can stay put and not roam:
Our Sophie and Izzy are coming back home!

It’s hard to believe it’s been only one year
Since we said our goodbyes, and we choked back our tears.
Here’s move number three in a rather short time –
Returning our smiles, and ending this rhyme.  😉

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

Sentimental Longing

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nos·tal·gia  /näˈstaljə,nəˈstaljə/   – noun.
A
sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

I’d say that everyone looks back on their childhood fondly.
But the unfortunate truth is that is unfortunately untrue,
and that unfortunate truth means I was truly fortunate.
In spite of that wording being almost comically convoluted,
it is written through tears of genuine gratitude.

My parents were simple and loving.
They infused me with a love for simple things. 
Perhaps it was the times.  Just the way life was.

But I don’t think so.
I think if they were to start over,

this time would be no different. 
Family would still be priority.
There would still be no such thing as coming home
to an empty house.

Music would still fill the soul.
All my love, and love me always would still grace every note
in every house we call home.
I love you.  You know that.
Yes Mom.  I do know that.  You lived it every day,
even when Alzheimer’s threatened to erase us
like chalk on a board,
leaving only ghostly swipes.

Longing to return to childhood
for one more day. One more hug.
One more chance to watch Mighty Mouse
T-boned on the floor with Dad,
my head using his tummy as a pillow.
One more turn to curl up in Mom’s lap,
rocked in the very chair that now sits across from me
as I write this poem, longing to hear her voice.
“I love you.  You know that.” 

© Marie Elena, 2019

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I miss your beautiful face and gentle love.

THE VALUE OF FAMILY AND THIRTY FIVE DAYS

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One year ago, today,
we unexpectedly secured
a one-bedroom apartment for Dad,
and moved him into it.
It was just down the hall from Mom and Dad’s place,
where Mom had passed in the wee hours prior.

A back-and-forth blur
of family
furniture
clothes
drums
wood carvings and wood-carving tools
kitchen supplies
medications
wheelchairs
walkers
jazz,
and love,

until one space was empty,
and the other, full
of sunlight and life
that dared each other
shine.

Food followed.
A feast, really,
provided by cousins.
All of us squeezed
‘round a long table
with Dad at one end,
and Mom’s brother and her identical twin
at the other,
between which
more conversation and laughter managed to flow
than tears.

Who could have known
a mere thirty five days later,
the one-bedroom’s sunlight would be called to shine
alone.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

BRIGHT AS DAY

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It’s the meaning of her name,
and I claim there is something to it,
as in days of old testament.

But multiple impediments seized her

mind

energy

sight

voice.

Her very soul.

The whole of her,
splintered.

The light of her,
wintered.

But her God is not flawed,
nor silenced.
As her spirit returns
and yearns to be,
I see her flame ignite,
and hope shines
Bright as Day.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

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Before the dawn, a
mourning song fell hard and long –
one we loved, now gone.

© Marie Elena Good, 2018

Marguerite Powers
March 16, 1931 – November 30, 2018

 

HOLIDAY BLESSINGS ON PARADE

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Oh the feasts that we would eat  –
Grandma’s stuffing can’t be beat!
Turkey carved and on display,
Guesses on “what does it weigh?”

Yams and hams and pumpkin pies,
And (to figures’ great demise}
Aunt Peg’s “Goop,” and Mom’s cheesecake.
Hopeful leftovers to take!

TV playing  football games,
Watched by mostly men named James.
Conversations, hugs, and laughs.
Later-treasured photographs.

 © Marie Elena Good, 2018

P.S.  Once-upon-a-time, there were so many men/boys named James in our family, it became a running joke. Grandpa, 2 uncles, Dad, and two cousins (one nicknamed Punk)!  😀