Phyllis Mae ~ A Mom’s Story & Poem

Mom was an impressive, strong woman of character … She had as many talents for homemaking as she did for driving a speed boat & slalom skiing, deer hunting with a bow & arrow, dressing up in flowing skirts with three-inch heels, or fishing big game off a deep sea boat in the middle of the ocean.

The poem beneath is from that batch of old poems. Some may find similarities in its emotions, though I’ve no idea if it even makes sense to others. It was written in the pain of knowing Mother was passing and it’s not particularly well written unless one picks-up on the rhythm in my head. But it brings back tender memories of her and for that reason I find it purposeful. I could think of nothing better suited given the onset of Mother’s Day. 

Beneath all of her sadness or maybe in conjunction with it, Mom was an impressive, strong woman of character as her German name implies. She had as motherday1many talents for homemaking as she did for driving a speed boat & slalom skiing, deer hunting with a bow & arrow, dressing up in flowing skirts with three-inch heels, or fishing big game off a deep sea boat in the middle of the ocean.

There was little Mom couldn’t do or had an inkling to do that she didn’t do well. Her creativity was off the charts, from cooking & baking to making beautifully unique motherday2candles at Christmastime, recovering & refinishing furniture, sewing beautiful dresses & exceptional Halloween costumes, or teaching a troop of girl scouts how to make fire and roll-up sleeping bags on a week-long campout. To this day I can make one heck of a fire :). I am still slack about making my bed.

Mom loved to fish. If she wasn’t preoccupied with taking us for an evening swim at the local pool or fixing snacks & Kool Aid for family time at the drive-in movie she darted out midday, with me as a small child in tow, to her favorite fishing hole. She would get so absorbed in fishing it was a good thing I had the common sense at pre-school age to stay close. I don’t remember us eating many fish – maybe it was the challenge or those rare opportunities for solitude that motherday4she relished so much.

After leaving Dad and I presume having no other causes than us to hold the straight & narrow that she so commendably lived as a mother at home, she eventually fell into alcoholism. I say that only to give clarity to some of the poem’s verses. That is not the memory I have of Mom because she was so much more, but she & I missed many later-life mother & daughter joys because of it. That broke my heart. It’s odd how you keep thinking there’ll always be time for things like that until you’re forced to realize it’s just too late and it’s been too late for a long while.

It may not seem like a young age to those who are much younger, but Mom died at 54 and that is a young age to die. Your fifties are your second chance at being young. The group you find yourself hanging-with in leisure then spans upwards of fifty, so you’re suddenly the younger whipper snapper on the block again. And you actually feel the impression of being young again – that is what’s so enjoyable about it. It is a good time of life. The best part of getting old. Mom never knew it.

Forty is the old age of youth and fifty is the youth of old age.

After my 54th birthday I sighed in relief that I had lived to Mom’s age in what seemed good & agile health for my future years. About a month later I learned I had cancer. That was a poignant time of life, seeming almost too cruel in its timing, but praise God I am still here, ten-years later, to pay tribute to Mom. It’s been 35-years since losing her and still not a day passes that I don’t miss her, maybe more than ever before, because life just keeps teaching us things we want to share with a mother and how we wish they were here to hear our revelations.

Phyllis Mae

The strengths and weaknesses

of childhood memories,

now whirlwinds of all

that we did not share;

here … now there.

It’s just not fair.

Closenesses we did not feel,

the depths of each other we never probed,

all the triumphs of our passing days

and of tomorrows we will not hold.

A baby born

and many of a sunny morning

to greet us,

yet we let them pass us by –

without a sightful eye – a sin.

I love you

I love you

I love you

until the words refuse to say

what I put into them.

Can you understand

how much I love you?

Why did we put it off,

all the things

other mothers and daughters do?

Why don’t we, even now,

talk through each other?

Do you know Mother

how very much

I need you ….

do you understand how very lonely

I will be

when you leave me here

alone?

Can you know how much of me

will keep you living?

Can you know

how much of you

is me

and how very much

I am you?

Do you find me fair maiden

as escort to the world?

Have I grown

from womb to now

and with your guidance

share somehow

the goodness of you?

Washing baby’s bottom,

lunching here and there,

can you know how much

of you

is here with me?

Can you know

how much of me

is there?

Sometimes I think we touch

much closer than I think;

sometimes I see myself

inside of you

dying

on the brink of ‘over there.’

I envision the moment

of my own rapture

and wonder why

and will it go so fast?

Then my daughter, too,

will ask,

Have I said ‘I love you’

before she leaves me all alone?

Does she know how I am hurting

for the loss that won’t subside

as life reveals its other side?

Are we ready?

~ ©Karen Suzanne~

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers & daughters out there!

 

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13 thoughts on “Phyllis Mae ~ A Mom’s Story & Poem

  1. This is a beautiful and touching poem, one that speaks to me because I am not close with my parents at all, and yet am like them in so many ways, and I know it will hurt deeply when they are gone. Don’t know why we let those moments pass. Thanks for the reminder while mine are still here; it has been weighing on me for years.

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    1. How wonderful to read, DaddyBlitz. Thanks for reading & for appreciating. I don’t know your age but so many of my parents’ generation (thus handed down to many of us) had no propensity for verbally expressing affection. As a child I don’t once recall either of mine ever saying anything affectionate, though I know they did love me as they demonstrated that in many other ways. Thanks again for appreciating Mom :). I regret not thinking to tell her of all my little appreciations of her while she was alive. With age comes wisdom and sometimes too late. I like to think by some grace of God she’s hearing me now.

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    2. P.S., I wanted you to know I did visit your latest post but I couldn’t stay with the more lengthy reading and I missed the format you used to use injecting scripture. I didn’t want to post this comment there because it’s not being critical, just an explanation on my part. I will keep revisiting you as I do value your skills.

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      1. Which? The Street Peddler or Treasures of the Wooden Chest? The former was just a short political commentary in response to the Daily Post. The latter was a more lengthy short story on the sinful nature, which we put away with our habitual sins and keep coming back to in moments of weakness. I did almost add scripture to it, but instead put it in footnotes to give the story broader appeal. But my typical story telling style for religious posts will have embedded scripture. Believe me, I don’t expect any follower to enjoy all my posts, especially since I will explore many topics and genres. I just enjoy writing. Thanks for your feedback.

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        1. I think it was The Street Peddler though both kind of lost me. Patience is not my virtue :). I almost never read anything of length, which seems strange for someone who enjoys writing so much. When I read a book I read the first 4-5 chapters then go straight to the end to get to the point, lol. I almost never read fiction unless similar to your other style, where the story leads to pertinent instruction. I realized you were honing other skills and figured I’d wait until you came back around. Thanks for asking. You’re more creative with writing than I. I bet you could write a good book.

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            1. You’re way ahead of me! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried & finally gave up. It’s much harder than it sounds. There are published writers in the family though, the most prominent being Jesse Stuart, if you’re familiar with him. Best wishes for your progress!

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