Poem #12 does not really need an introduction. Not in my wildest dreams could I have surmised that my poetry muse would visit in late Winter 2020. And by this Spring, I have already written a dozen poems in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Conjuring how I could express thoughts about Mother for Mother's Day, this poem waltzed into the camera lens in my mind unexpectedly, full of sentiment and candor. These words were familiar as they were somehow etched in the recesses of my brain from long ago. They would at times appear in my dreams. Mother appears in my dreams often enough, I am taking such sign from her that I am to set the words free.
The old photo is from my maternal grandfather's collection; thanks to him I have a few I've grown to treasure as I age. This photo is who my Mother was, is and always will be in my mind's eye. This is the beautiful woman who raised me.
|My Mother in Her Youth. ©Lu Sobredo Collection|
MOTHER'S DAY LESSONS OF THE HEART
What comes to mind about my Mother?
That I yearn to see and hug her; talk and walk with her.
I recognized her walk even from afar.
Her bearing effortless. “Elegant presence,”
Her best friend from college described
Whenever they reminisced in their early forties.
Her eyes full of melancholy
When her own Mother died while she herself
Was in early recovery from surgery, and nursing
A terminal illness. Painfully, she couldn’t
Be with Grandmother to say goodbye.
Mother was heartbroken, unable to properly mourn;
I wept with her. I weep for her, for them both to this day.
Her laughter was infectious. Her storytelling
Rivaled a comic, a mime and a dramatist.
Most entertaining when joined by her soulmate,
Her inseparable sidekick, my Aunt,
Who at 91 still wishes that Mother
Had not exited to Heaven too soon.
At age 53, that was too soon. Cruelly, too soon.
My heart aches to this day
Because she was taken far too soon.
She fought her battle with the big “C,”
The disease that tested her courage, grace
And fierceness. That same fierceness to protect
Emerged when loved ones or overlooked strangers
In need were threatened or neglected.
While at her deathbed saying goodbye,
I resisted like a child, although in my 20s.
When I attempted to bargain with God,
Her retort was brutally honest to a fault.
She admonished with coherence: Don’t be selfish.
My mortal body can no longer handle the pain.
My mission on earth is complete.
Your own mission will be revealed in due time.
Mother fell into eternal sleep
Before I could protest. I was speechless.
Speechless as in stunned with awe
At her unadulterated courage.
I am told often that I look like her.
That at times, I sounded like her. But her
Forgiving heart was unequalled.
She caressed her pain close to the chest:
Scars in the heart from lost loves, broken promises,
Torn up love letters and lost poems
From college sweethearts. Until her last breath
She cradled only kind words
Even for the few that she trusted but failed her,
betrayed her and caused her inexplicable sorrow.
The theme song from her first love, no he
Wasn’t my father, was called No Other Love.
Although the torn love letters, poems,
And images of a beloved with a baritone voice,
Strumming a guitar serenading her
Were my Father’s. These images
And stories stayed mostly buried in Mother’s
Heart when they parted ways.
Even extended family might not know, she played
A simple arrangement of No Other Love on the piano.
The only time she ever played for me. We laughed
And cried as we sang to our hearts content.
Those mother-daughter moments made my head swirl,
Intoxicated in the way she recalled without regret
Long lost loves; and the eventual love that sustained her.
What comes to mind when missing my Mother?
That words would never be enough.
That the warmth, thoughtfulness and sacrifices
She showered me unconditionally are carved
Deeply, intricately and precisely in the core of my being.
And whatever disappointments caused her
To tear up or shake her head while raising me,
Or while watching me from Heaven,
I know she forgives and cherishes
Them as lessons of the heart;
Lessons of life. Her love embraces me
All the days of my life.
Poem ©Lu Sobredo
Photo ©Sobredo Photo Collection
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
About the Author
Lu Sobredo is writer/publisher at Lu Travels Abroad, a blog dedicated to folks whose limitations do not hamper them from traveling. A year into early retirement her world collapsed from the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Her total life changed, but she did not let RA define her. With love from family, friends and an awesome doctor, she regained some functionality--her new normal. She will have RA all her life. And she now writes about life and travel with RA. During the pandemic of 2020, she stays put and writes poetry and a first novel, a travel of sorts but in the heart and mind.