A Time To Mourn From Death to Renewal

April 8, 2021

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Pandemic
A dangerous new phenomenon entered our 2020 vision.
A novel virus would forever change our lives and our times.
Marching us from spring and falling into autumn without even looking.
Dementia
Her normal eccentricity quickly magnified into the bizarre.
Storing ice cream in a “Frigidaire” microwave, becoming a flaming redhead, adamantly denying proof from brain scans,
She had been struggling for some time to hide the unacceptable truth.
Resignation
How quickly she moved from independence to locked in memory care.
From driving and swimming to no longer able to walk,
She would try everything left in her power to hasten the inevitable.
Hospice
Now she wanted to end her life, welcoming impending death.
I knew that sooner rather than later was “for the best “.
But my heart and my tears were still holding back.
Hungry
She was still calling out her daughters’ three names.
Still craving and demanding her favorite ice cream,
Funny, that’s what I would have wanted if I were dying.
The Mess
The hard chocolate shell tested her weakened bite,
Cracking into slivers that melted into blood colored stains.
Death can be so messy!
Waiting
Hurry up and wait for death.
Her eyes shut closed, her arms reached out, grasping the empty air,
Still holding on until her mother would take her hand.
Yom Kippur
She had our attention as we crowded her tiny room,
Orchestrating us all in prayer on the eve of Yom Kippur,
Imploring God to take her on the holiest day of the year.
Death
You are like a long playing record, Mom
It’s time for you to pull the plug. We will be okay!
Blessed with a final exhale, the corner of her lip turned up in smile.
Burial
There was stillness above as she descended into earth.
Dust to dust, her body enveloped in white pine,
Letting go of the shovel along with my tears, it was time to say goodbye.
The Mantis
When once and for all time we parted for good,
A mantis came to pray on my head and whispered in my ear,
Listen to me! Thank you dear daughter, you have always been loved.
Shiva
The shiva candle is now burning low,
Marking seven days of mourning since her burial.
Will this flame in my heart and mind ever truly be extinguished?
Grief
Grief is like an open wound
Unable to hold together, bringing unexpected moments of pain,
Healing will come, but not without leaving its scar.
Age
She always said that age was just a number,
But as you become an orphan, reality sets in,
And you know you are next in line to die.
A Return
Three weeks since her first visit, the mantis returned outside my window,
Dressed to be seen in a glorious shade of green, she caught my eye from afar,
Look at me! Everything must change, but life goes on.
A Month
How does a month go by in a minute,
My heart is still a volcano,
An incessant quiet ache susceptible to unexpected eruptions of anger and grief.
Cleaning Out
Our parents no longer there, a home left with only memories and clutter.
What will be trashed and what will be saved?
Will our children even cherish what remains?
Trash
Overwhelming daunting and terribly sad,
An accumulation of 62 years now discarded in an industrial sized dumpster,
Begging the question, “Is that all there is?”.
Thanksgiving
Giving thanks today for getting through this past year,
Moving with my mom through anger and frustration, to helplessness, hopelessness, and despair.
I am so very grateful to God that she is no longer suffering!
Home
The house that Sonny built is no longer a home.
Like the body of one who dies, it is now just a shell.
To be transformed and infused with a new spirit, continuing to live on.
To Fly
As I marveled at a flock of robins in December darting and feasting in a frenzy,
A great blue heron simultaneously flew overhead,
Urging me to nourish my Self, spread my own wings, and perhaps even soar.
– Jodie Frieden, Dec. 2020

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