Mom – A poem

Through a crack in the drapery,
I witness my mother,
naked and vulnerable,
by her hospital aide, Pat,
washing her
as a mother washes her child.

She calls her name,
but my mother is fast asleep.

Full of fun Pat laughs,
“I got the magic.
Come on, Connie,
wake up.”
A light sleeper,
my mother resists,
her breath heavy,
like someone lost
in a dream.

the aide shakes her
frail body

Commotion signals
gaggle of women,
vital signs,
must know
about lapse
to other world,
leaving behind
loose skin and skeleton,
an anchor
to mark a spot
to return to.

in loving arms,
Pat rocks
her, prays,
while I in
the background,
watching the woman
who has been my mother,
for good and for bad,
all her tenderness,
all her failures,
all unimportant
in this moment.

Eternity of minutes,
glazed eyes flutter.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.”
Her first words
a string of judgments
of her altered state.

“What is your name?”
an ordinary question.

She searches
all the words,
all the names,
hers not forthcoming.
she finds a name,
her middle name,
my grandmother’s name,
my favorite name.

New chapter,
her life
joining my life
as my life
once inseparable from her life
has just begun.
New chapter,
last chapter.
I am ready.

Written November 2005


Mom – A poem — 3 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing. Most of us women, “of a certain age” have been where you were in this poem, so it’s very easy to connect. Lovely metaphors. Esp. like the one about the “anchor, marking the spot to return to.

  2. What a lovely gift to your mother and her care provider and to all of us who have shared these tender and terrifying moments. Linda

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