In the bookcase


parent holding child

A weird thing happened the other day. I thought, “I should call mom and tell her about that.” And then I remembered, “Oh, yeah. Can’t do that,” because she was gone. Even though she hasn’t been around since 2012, this still happens to me all the time.

I guess it’s actually not that weird, but it feels weird. I know it’s a common thing people go through after a loved one passes. It’s like experiencing “phantom limb” but with a person who’s gone instead of a missing leg or arm.

My mother wasn’t young. She was 83. Her actual passing, while not tragic, still surfed along on the tail end of a tragic situation which I won’t go into today.  Before that, though, we stopped speaking for a long time once but then got together later to resolve our issues.

The day we got back together involved an awkward meeting at a restaurant and she was slow to thaw. I’d written a poem and I gave it to her. She never commented on it and I figured she’d just shoved it into a drawer somewhere at home and forgotten about it–or maybe even thrown it away–who knows how deep the grudge went from our year-long disagreement? I know I was still fairly miffed.

But after she passed away and I was helping my father organize her things, I came across it, framed, in the bookcase on her side of the bed.


Poem to my mother


It happened one day and then was clear

that the years and months

and days and hours

unspooling like ribbons into the stars

and stuffed with the tools

that framed the world

and roused my spirit and my life too

stretched so far I think I knew

that I could never repay you


And even though one day that was clear,

I would always be bending

and always be trying

and when the day came I knew it was true

all day all night dusk to dawn

that thank you was tiny and not enough

I would still say it till we were both gone


thank you for understanding

thank you for not understanding

thank you for rioting

thank you for relenting

thank you for worrying

thank you for holding on

thank you for letting go

thank you for being my mother

women in sun



39 thoughts on “In the bookcase

      • Yeh, stories like that don’t around often. And when someone shares it, it feels so special, especially coming from mi ‘amiga’. I love how you found what your mother ‘actually’ did with your photo. That must have blew your mind lol

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Every time something funny happens I reach for my phone to tell my mate then doh! I smile. Sure he knows. He’s probably laughing at me, the bastard. LOL… Yes I like that idea, a “phantom limb”. It does feel like that.
    What a lovely end to your story. What is it with family feuds!? Blood thicker than water and all that but so many people have similar story’s. Not many would end with the heartfelt warmth of seeing she had framed your beautiful poem and had it by her side. A bittersweet ending and I do hope you are ok. Big love.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Aw, Mikey, yeah. I know what you mean–the thought, the impulse, then the mental brakes going screeeeeech….and the ironic smile. He probably IS laughing…but with you. Lovingly, of course.
    Thank you. I’m good. Same back atcha. Much love returned………!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No wonder your Mother frame it.
    Unfortunately we reach an age when we are full of questions, about our family, and our parents, and elder relatives are no longer there to answer us…
    Sometimes I regret not to be more curious when they were there, to ask them so many things. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Burning Heart.
      I know what you mean. So many questions still come to mind about things, mostly from the past, that I know my mom could straighten out. Dad’s still here but he wasn’t privy to a lot of things mom and I went through, so he can’t answer. But I’m lucky I still have him around to talk to! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a lot to talk about the subject, maybe I will do a post about it, I hesitate, since involve private family matters, but I guess we can find a way, will see.
    Take care. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That would be interesting. Yeah, there’s ways around the private stuff. Like I didn’t mention what my mom and I stopped speaking over for a year. That’s between us!
    You take care also. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Both of my parents are now gone. My mother passed away too many years ago. My father passed away only three years ago. I find myself talking to him in my mind. We did get to resolve a few things before it was too late. I never wrote either of my parents a poem and certainly nothing as extraordinary as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Henry, it sounds like they went too soon. I’m so sorry. But at least you did address some issues. It’s really rough, the losses.
    Thank you very much for your kind words.


  8. Hi, Kev. I agree. Easier in some cases than others, of course, due to the love and support I received from mine, which is not always the case with everyone. So I also feel lucky on top of grateful. Thanks for your shared emotion!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s beautiful Sel. Non of us ever really know our parents. I think as children, we forget they different people who led different lives before they had kids. Your mum framing the poem you wrote for her was probably the best gift she could have left for you 😊 Strangely enough, my mum swore at me just before she died, but that was ‘Her’ way of showing love, I think!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aw, thank you. I appreciate it.
    I can’t tell if you’re serious or not about your mom, but…. love comes out in all different ways, right?! Eeek! lol


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