Please Call Me When You Get There

Vigil at my mother’s bedside

Lying still, your mouth gapes open as
I wonder if you breathe your last.
Your hair a white cloud
Your skin baby soft
No washing, digging, planting gardens
Or raising children

Where do your dreams take you?
At times you wake in your childhood home of
Rolling wheat fields, boundless days of freedom.
Other naps take you to your student and 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,
Wondering aloud about
Children grown, flown.
You still control through worry
and tell me:
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
Mother my mother
For as long as she needs.

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.

12 thoughts on “Please Call Me When You Get There

  1. Emily this is a beautiful and perfect tribute to your mother. Especially moving at this time as my family is sitting with my grandmother (who is on her early 90’s as she tries to recover from a fall subsequent surgery 2 months ago). Thank you for sharing your gift of writing.
    Wishing you a lovely mother’s day

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My mother passed quickly at my side in the car on our way to babysit her great grandchildren. It will be 30 years ago this July 17. She was a very special lady. Always generous with her time. Always giving. She must have made thousands and thousands of sugar cookies. Sold many dozens with the Women’s Fellowship to help pay down the debt for the new church building in the early 60s. She baked for CBPW Country Fairs to help support their missionaries. She gave sugar cookie gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, funeral luncheons. WHAT EVER THE REASON, SHE WAS THERE WITH SUGAR COOKIES. She mailed cookies to our pastor and his tour group when in the Holy Land. she mailed cookies to Italy, when the owners of our local pizza place went back home for a visit.

    Just today we were going through pictures and saw the many dinners she prepared for family and friends. Delicious dinners. Nothing fancy. Just plain old comfort food.

    And now I am going through a difficult time as we have decided I could no longer care for my father at home. He is adjusting to living in a personal care facility. and I am adjusting to letting him go,,,feeling sometimes sad and sometimes relieved. It is a sad time. He and I cried many tears the week of the decision.

    Life so fragile ever changing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a very difficult point in his life and yours. May you both find peace in this new time apart and together. Your mom was flat out amazing and I’m sure you both miss her every day.


  4. Thank you, Emily. Your comment “this new time apart and together” touched me.. As hard as this has been, I think we have talked more through this difficult time. I feel sad for him. He has experienced so many losses in the last 2 and 1/2 years; his farm, his Snapper, his cat, and now his home.
    In January, I broke my arm, was diagnosed with breast cancer, lost 2 months of sleep, had radiation treatments, and became overwhelmed with the stress of it all and taking care of him.
    For some reason God allowed a wrecking ball to hit me at the beginning of 2019. So the old has been knocked down and we need to build up a new normal for us. My prayer is for joy to find it’s way back into our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear me, Emily: I just re-read my response. It did come out wrong! I wasn’t being sarcastic. I said “thank you” because your poem connected me so strongly with my own mother and what she always would say to me. She has been gone 16 years now.

    Liked by 1 person

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