Call Me

April 26, 2008
vigil at my mother’s bedside

Lying still, your mouth gapes open
I wonder if you breathe your last
Your hair a white cloud
Your skin softened from disuse
No washing, digging, planting
Gardens or children

Where do your dreams take you?
At times you wake in your childhood home
Rolling wheat fields, boundless days of freedom.
Other naps take you to your teaching days
Grammar and drama, speech and essays.
Yesterday you were a young mother again
Juggling babies, farm and your wistful dreams.

Today you looked about your empty nest
Disguised as hospital bed
Children grown, flown
You try to control through worry
Travel safely
Get a good night’s sleep
Take time to eat
Call me when you get there

I dress you as you dressed me
I clean you as you cleaned me
I love you as you loved me
You try my patience as I tried yours
I wonder if I have the strength to
Manage mothering

When I tell you the truth
Your brow furrows as it used to do
When I disappointed you
This cannot be
A bed in a room in a sterile place
Waiting for death
Waiting for heaven

And I tell you
Travel safely
Eat, please eat
Sleep well
Call me when you get there.

2 thoughts on “Call Me

  1. Lovely, Emily. My mother returned, in thoughts and dreams, to the family farm in Ferndale before she passed on. She could hear her mother calling her home for supper, and wanted to get there before dark.
    They called it Sundowning.


  2. Dear Emily, my summer of computer difficulty has been complicated by having to access email via the website, which is not designed for daily communication purposes. Some things stack up faster than I can read them and some simply get overlooked. I’ve made a point to not delete anything from you and a select few, even if it takes a while to read those, as in tonigh.

    The vigil with your mother is wonderful and succinctly captures the magic of the passing of the torch. Thank you.


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