Six years ago today, I received an early morning call telling me you were gone. The nurse told me someone had been in to check on you, and they came back 15 minutes later, and your soul had moved on.
I read a lot about death in those weeks following. From what I read, the way you went- alone- was what many souls choose to do.
And while I am sad I was not there in those final moments, I know it’s what you wanted. If I had been there, I would have selfishly asked you to stay and you would have done all you could to do so.
I miss you mom. I miss our talks, your laugh, and the ability to hold your hand. You had the most delicate hands and although worn from years of hard work, I thought they were beautiful. In the last months of your life, I made sure you got a regular manicure. I have no doubt it was a first for you, for I cannot ever recall you going to”get your nails” done. I am glad I was able to give you a small luxury during a difficult time.
When the doctors told me you had the onset of Alzheimer’s, it devastated me. Will the day come that my mom will not know who I am? Yet, for whatever reason, you never forgot who I was and you never forgot Pete. Right up until the end, you knew us. You have no idea how grateful I am, Mom. Your fierce will was at play there along with the hand of God. Once again, you protected me as best you could.
What took you was your poor tired heart. You had outlived your mother, your father, your younger brother and sister, and my sister. Your children and grandchildren, who meant everything to you, were grown. You had done your job, and lived a hard, but honest and good, life. Now was the time for rest.
I am sure you know this mom, but I am now a full-time writer. You always told me I could write better than anyone you knew, and you had such faith in me. And while I have yet to make any money from it, I know a day will come when I will. Like you, I am determined when I want something. Sure, my previous 30+ years career was rewarding. It was not the work itself, but rather the people who touched me in a place that drove me. I wanted to help them, to play a role in helping them to be better people, and leaders. And I succeeded.
Now, each day I write. It seems I have a lot to say. And one of my poems is going to be in an E-book Mom- I will be a published author. In true daughter of Patsy style, I’m not stopping there, either. This is the beginning of something wonderful. And even though I can’t hear these words from your lips, I know you are proud of me.
I have what’s left of your physical body by my side in an ornate box made of wood. I suppose I will scatter your ashes some day, but today will not be the day.
Today, I will honor your life and be thankful you were my mother. I will remember your laugh, your smile, and your kindness. And I will remember how much you believed in me, even at times when I didn’t believe in myself.
And I will cry.
-Linda Lee Lyberg
Here I bravely stand
Reaching out to give you my hand
To guide me through this unknown land
For you’ve been there, you understand
But my hand falls in silence
And touches only dead air
For your hand that once offered guidance
Is sadly no longer there.
Where are you now when I need you most
What disastrous fate has occurred
At times I feel you’re very close
But my pleas go unheard.
Are you the wind’s whisper
As it blows through the naked trees
And as the wind grows colder and crisper
Will you offer me any reprieve?
Or are you the heated sun
That sits high in the velvet sky
For you were always the one
That warmed me when I cried.
I miss you my dear mother
For you were my true north light
And there will never be another
For you’ve gone from my sight.
Linda Lee Lyberg