Mum

 

Mum

 

She was like a velvet blanket

with a gift to turn

childhood ailment to fun;

magazine “specials”,

puzzle books,

favourite food.

 

She was the one to run to

when life dealt a losing hand,

or when a plaster was

needed as she helped heal

the pain beneath.

 

And she was the one whose

tears meant most when

the firstborn emerged,

stains of birth wiped clean,

a gift of innocence.

 

Then one day she

forgot my name,

like her brain

skipped a beat.

She looked at me,

a  gaze more

eloquent than words.

 

Are you my sister?

she asked, quizzical,

childlike, as she

sipped her tea.

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30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David Francis Barker
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 17:36:06

    This is wonderful… very touching and well put together, I feel. I really like the lines ‘She looked at me, a gaze more eloquent than words’. Love it.

    Reply

  2. Ina
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 18:00:34

    Hi Christine,

    this is such a moving poem about your loving mother and the last difficult phase in her life. Beautiful how you show your affection, in writing about her affection for her children 🙂 it brought tears to my eyes.

    My mother and both grandmothers suffered from maybe the same sort of forgettng ( Alzheimer) and it is difficult to know your own mother is slipping away, also for your mother of course. I always felt comfort thinking my mother didn’t realize what was going wrong, the most difficult part was when it started and she would be so angry.

    To be forgotten by your mother, that is how it felt maybe, but I think in her heart she knew you still. She was your mum till the end, but in a different appearance. Mother daughter relationships are not always easy, to remember the great mother you had in your youth maybe is a comfort. I hope it is.

    Big {{{ hug }}} and love

    Ina

    Reply

  3. Becoming herself
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 19:56:44

    Hi, Christine

    This must have been a difficult poem to write – such a painful and emotional subject, and so close to your heart. Because it is so straightforward and understated (‘Then, one day…’), it is all the more powerful in its effect. ‘Like her brain skipped a beat’ is so exactly how it is; and then the devastating ‘Are you my sister?’. Your best poem so far, I think. Very moving and very sad. It says so much in so few words.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2011 @ 11:01:16

      Thank you BH, for this heartwarming and encouraging comment.

      In a way it was lovely to write as it brought to the surface more of the things from my childhood than the sadness.
      It is quite a few years now since she died and I feel I have had time enough to grieve for those last few years without them overshadowing the good memories if that makes sense.

      Christine

      Reply

  4. Betty
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 23:34:43

    Oh Christine! Such a moving, eloquent poem – and it sounds like my own mother right now. She still knows who I am but sometimes can’t remember my name… it’s so sad to watch this decline – this brain “skipping a beat”. You’ve written this so beautifully….

    Reply

  5. journeyintopoetry
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 10:28:24

    Hi Ina

    Thank you for this lovely comment.

    I totally agree with what you say about finding comfort in the fact that your mother didn’t know what was going wrong and also I relate to the period of time at the beginning of it all when she used to get angry.

    I just wanted her to be able to enjoy my youngest daughter but this was not to be, and because she was ok for the other two I think she feels a little short changed, but nevertheless she can enjoy all the stories I tell her about her Nana. However, the one thing my daughter does remember is that while her Nana was reasonably ok she bought her a little dustpan and brush in rainbow colours! Strange what we cling onto isn’t it.

    And writing this poem has brought back to mind all those loving, caring years she gave to me.

    Love and hugs

    Christine

    xx

    Reply

  6. The Background Story
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 18:35:43

    This is so depressing but true. I saw it happen to my dad’s mother. And it scares me that it can happen to my own mom. She’s only 53, but years can fly by so fast.

    Reply

  7. Fergiemoto
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 05:58:34

    Poetry and creative expression is healing in many ways. This poem is a beautiful tribute to loving mothers. It warmed my heart…and then the last part got me all choked up. The words are very powerful.

    Reply

  8. bardessdmdenton
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 21:58:00

    ‘However, the one thing my daughter does remember is that while her Nana was reasonably ok she bought her a little dustpan and brush in rainbow colours! Strange what we cling onto isn’t it.’

    Your first stanza and the quote above reminded me how my mom would walk five miles from work on her lunch hour when I was home sick from school and usually bring me paper dolls which I loved. Then she would walk the five miles back! I’m very blessed to still have her around at age 82 (we live together), her mind pretty sharp if her body lets her down somewhat. Your poem is so poignant and brave.

    Thanks for sharing such a personal and finely expressed reflection.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 01, 2011 @ 10:37:59

      Thank you Diane. I always take to heart your comments because you are such a talented writer, and to think that you see this as a “finely expressed reflection” is a huge compliment.

      I, too, remember paper dolls! I used to get quite cross with them when the tabs wouldn’t hold the clothes on very well! Then they brought out the ones where the clothes were attached by a small magnet but they didn’t have the same appeal somehow!

      Your mum sounds like a beautiful person and I hope you have many more years together.

      Christine

      Reply

  9. Laurel's Reflections
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 20:21:10

    Ah Christine, thank you so much for stopping by my blog today, and directing me to this most eloquent, moving and beautiful poem of yours. The first three stanzas not only showed your wonderful memories and deep love for your mother, but struck deep chords with me – my mother was exactly thus, and having her there when my first son was born was something I have always treasured immensely.

    Reply

  10. Dennis N. O'Brien
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 00:10:53

    A moving tribute to your mother.

    Reply

  11. Thomas Davis
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 01:27:54

    From a craftsmanship standpoint this is well done. You start in loveliness, letting us began to build up a sense of caring, and then, by stanzas, you lead us to the ending, which is powerful. Craftsmanship is important in poetry, partially because it lets us deal with emotions too powerful to deal with and put them into lines and language, but in the end what really counts is the art, the stream of emotions and humanity and ideas that make us who we are as human beings, imperfect, but still connected to each other in wondrous ways. It is on this level that this poem, and other poems on this blog, really succeeds.

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 02, 2011 @ 11:03:59

      Thank you Thomas, for this detailed and really encouraging comment. It is very much appreciated

      Christine

      Reply

    • Christine Moran
      Dec 04, 2011 @ 10:13:18

      Thank you Thomas.

      Forgive me if you get my reply twice; I thought I had replied to you but I can’t see it here .

      Your comment was so detailed and encouraging. I really appreciate it as I am still “finding my feet” with poetry and it is good to know I am doing ok.

      Thank you again

      Christine

      Reply

  12. Tom Baker
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 10:39:24

    Mothers can be a blessing or a curse but I am glad your experience was a great one. More children should be so lucky. Very nice way to give honor to her.

    Reply

  13. journeyintopoetry
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 11:04:58

    Thank you Tom.

    We had our moments, particularly in my teenage years!!!

    Christine

    Reply

  14. Val
    Dec 04, 2011 @ 01:40:00

    Sad, but it must be nice to have the memories so clear. I lost my mother quite a long time ago but I’ve still very vivid memories which I cling on to.

    Reply

  15. tikarmavodicka
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 02:35:13

    Hi Christine,

    This was a most moving and beautiful tribute to your Mum. I have never experianced Alzheimers first hand but I can empathise that it must be so very difficult and heatbreaking to watch someone you love for so much become in many ways as much a stranger to you as you have become to them.

    I have known a few people for whom the struggle of the experiance leaves them with only the hurt of those final years.
    I found it most moving that despite this you are able to remember your mother with fond loving memories.
    I have only the chance to forge a relationship with my mother in my adult years. My memories of her in childhood are so very few and I didn’t know her at all through my teens.
    So I know the vaule of cherishing those good memories and appreciating the moments you have.
    Thankyou for sharing yours. 🙂

    (((BIG HUGS)))
    Tikarma
    xoxoox

    Reply

    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 06, 2011 @ 11:07:30

      Thank you Tikarma for this thoughtful comment.

      It was good, when writing this, to realise that I am able to share the sad and happy memories together and know that the happy ones are very much the stronger.

      I hope you are able to treasure the relationship you have with your mother for many years to come

      Love and
      (((BIG HUGS)))

      Christine xx

      Reply

  16. Ellen Grace Olinger
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 16:47:54

    Excellent poem, with so much love and many tender memories. I cherish the caregiving years I had with my own mother. Blessings, Ellen

    Reply

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