22 months

It’s been nearly two years since Dad died, a lot longer since Mom died, and a lifetime since my little sister died.  A couple of therapists and a few grief groups later I’ve finally sorted through all of the charts that describe the cycle of grief, the poems that are supposed to help, and the stories that other people took the time to write down.  I have 4 pieces of paper left that didn’t end up in the recycle bin.  The second one was something that Dad gave me shortly after Mom died.  I can’t truly let these pieces of my grief go, so I’m putting them here….

Death is Nothing
Henry Scott Holland, Oxford, 19th century

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.

I am me.
You are you.
Whatever we were for each other…
we still are.

Call me by the name you’ve always called me.
Speak to me as you always have.
Do not use a different tone;
Do not take on a solemn or sad air.

Life means all that it has always meant.
Everything is the same as it was.
The string has not been cut.

Smile.  Think of me.

Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you.
I am not far;
Just around the corner.

All is well.  Nothing is lost.
All will be as it was before.

Gone From My Sight
Henry van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts out for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come together to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”
“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at that moment when someone says: “There, she is gone,” there are other eyes watching her arrival and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,

“Here she comes.”

And that is dying.

Gifts from your mother…..
Write a letter to your mother and talk with her about the gifts she gave to you during her lifetime. You might consider:

What you treasured about her
What you admired in her
How did she enrich your emotional or spiritual life
What talents or interests did she spark or encourage in you
What are you most proud of in your mom
What traits of her would you like to have for yourself
In what ways are you like her

If you could choose one thing which embodies your mother’s essence, what would you choose to keep her close to you?

Who am I now?  What do I want?

What I want is my parents back.  But I’m not sure why (exactly).  I love them both deeply in very different ways, and relied on them to help me to see clearly what wasn’t/isn’t always so clear.  They loved me in a way that only a parent can love a child~and this I now understand as a parent.  I don’t need them the way I did when I was young.  I can make decisions and live my life without them.  But I want them.  I want their level heads, their courage to look me in the eye and disagree with me without ever feeling their love of me was in danger, I want to hear my name on their lips, I want to talk about ‘our family’ in the way Dad always did~ with Dad~ as if we had the secret to happy family, I want to see Mom’s love in her eyes and hear it in her voice, I want to get Oreos from their cookie jar, I want to ask questions and hear answers.  I want.

~Leslie

7 replies
  1. Angel says:

    Your words are a testament to who your parents were. May you continue to be the flame of their existence. Thank you. I love reading your blog!

  2. Steve says:

    Have you ever heard of God Winks? I interpret them as a sign from God. I discovered Leslie’s loving family story by accident, I was doing a Web search on my father Joe and came across the wedding picture of Stan and Pauline. I met Stan through my Dad who visited my mom at Green Hills too. What I know is Stan and my dad would have long visits while at Green Hills. They had a lot in common and became friends. My dad Joe passed away unexpectedly Jan. 10, 2009. I continued to visit my mom regularly and Stan became my friend too. Green Hills told me of Stan’s passing, my mom continued her care and passed away at Green Hills in March 2015. I think at some point I was introduced to Stan’s daughter Leslie, I remember Pauline and lot’s of others who were cared for there. IF you read this Leslie I thought the world of your Dad, it was always comforting to see him, he was a good man. Your family story is a treasure of your life memories and your description of those special times with your son, daughter, husband and the big dog are so heartwarming. Thankyou for sharing these special moments of your life. God truly Winks. 🙂

  3. Leslie says:

    Steve it’s crazy that your dad died the same day as mine, just 3 years prior. I remember him well and enjoyed visiting with him at Greenhills. Your dad became a very good friend to mine. Alzheimer’s has its blessings.

    Your note reminds me how much I miss writing these stories and remembering. I’ll get back to it…

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