Go Gently into that Good Night

My dear sweet mother is nearing the end of her life, and I find myself suddenly dashing for the airport. I will be away from the blog for a few weeks.

This beautiful poem and the accompanying photos by Sue Vincent speak eloquently of the arc of life as expressed through flowers. I encourage you to read it to the end. I have closed comments here, simply because I would feel obligated to reply, and my heart is elsewhere. But trust that I know you wish me peace and comfort. Please enjoy this stunning poem.

Flowers

There were always flowers.

Orchids pinned upon a mother’s breast,

All lace and diamonds.

Long black gloves

And painted lips,

As she left, laughing.

A child who watched

As the door closed.

There were flowers…

Yellow tulips,

Cellophane and ribbon

A girl who blushed

As the curtain fell

Upon the stage;

She cradled them,

A first bouquet.

There were flowers

Roses and lilies

White, in hands and hair,

Their fragrance mingled…

 

Continue reading at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

 

 

At the Mirror: like hell

Tanya, from the incurable dreamer, doesn’t post often, but each time she does I sit down for an amazing read. I laugh or cry or I feel understood or inspired. This is a moving piece about uncovering the beauty of the journey, even when there is pain. I hope you enjoy the read.

like hell

by Tanya

‘Hello.’

*taps mic*

‘Is this thing on?  HELLO.  Can you guys hear me in the back?’  Whispers softly,  ‘Shit, is there even anyone in the back?’

*squinting to see*

‘Okay, well, here it goes.  For anyone who might still be here, this is what I have come to say.’

Out of nowhere, he appears, like a breath of air.  He is poised, pressing a small dark cloth bag firmly against his chest.  Without invitation, he begins to explain that inside the bag, are hundreds of tiny balls.  They are highly sought-after, mystical balls.  Gifts and riches – bountiful, beyond my wildest imagination – are mine, and eternal if my destiny is to pull one from the bag. Destined, he explains, because amongst them is one ball, which if picked, will bring forth afflictions of grand proportions.  He steels himself, then thrusts the bag towards me.  Gesturing at my arm, he demands, stick your hand inside and choose one.  I tell him I don’t want to.  He says the decision is not mine.  I do not understand. Before me, he continues to stand, unmoving, unwavering in his request.  I look around.  There is no one and nothing.  Only me, and only him.

The odds are in my favour, I think to myself, this is not a big deal.  There are so many.  What are the chances?  I mean, surely.  His stare is unrelenting, escape futile.  It’s obvious.  I must choose.  Hesitantly, I reach my hand up high and place it inside the bag.  My hand, now submerged in chance, begins to sift through an endless sea of balls.  Fate tempts and rolls and slips between my fingers.  Just one, I think, just one.

There is no distinction; only smooth similarity.  Panicked, I begin to wonder how I will know. I grab hold, then just as quickly release ball after ball, convinced the right one still awaits.  My eyes lock with his.  Resolute and hopeful, I continue to sift.  My fingers then rest on one.  He senses my choice when my fingers cease to move and I grow still…

(Continue reading: like hell)

 

Reflecting on Father’s Day

Dad and meMy relationship with my father hasn’t always proved a smooth ride. We’ve both lugged around our blind spots and buried pain. Yet as people tend to do, we’ve also grown up over the last fifty-some years, learned a thing or two about forgiveness, gratitude, and love.

When I reached the wise old age of twenty, my eyes opened to the idea that parents weren’t perfect. That new perspective loosened some of the emotional chains of expectation. I could view their opinions and reactions within the context of their generation and upbringings. This altered understanding gave me permission to travel my own journey without my inner critic’s disapproval hanging over my head.

dad and me 2In my thirties, I experienced another “duh” moment when I realized that parents continue to grow and learn throughout their lives. I am now their age, and the silly, narrow-mindedness of my previous level of understanding is downright embarrassing. Yet there you have it.

In my forties, I learned that there’s no going back to unsay old words and unhurt old wounds. What I most wanted was a trip back in time, a redo, a gift impossible for him to give me.  To wrestle our relationship from the muddy past required compassion, and forgiveness for mistakes neither of us can change, no matter how hard we may wish to.

As I worked in my garden this Father’s Day, I found myself reflecting on the many things I learned from my father that have enriched my life. Despite our struggles, there were hidden blossoms among the weeds that occasionally crowded our paths. I thought I’d share a few:

A love of the outdoors
Respect for diversity
Kindness toward all living things
A passion for reading
A lifelong fondness for power tools
To work with integrity
To grow vegetables
That money isn’t important
That I can do anything I put my mind to
That it’s possible to change
And never too late to say I love you.

Love you, dad.