It’s been such a privilege for me to share in the remembrances of all those who’ve contributed poems to honor their loved ones here during the past two weeks. I am humbled, not only by the response to my call for poems . . . but by the quality of the poems in this small collection and the emotions they evoke. So, thank you–Adelaide; Marion; Janet; Lauren and Jenny; Johnny, Katherine, Alegria, Abigail and Pamela; and Chrissi–for making this year’s All Souls’ posts possible. I’ve already read each of your contributions several times; and, each time, I feel as if I’m lighting a small candle for all the souls I’ve come to know through your words.
This last tribute post I’ve reserved for my mother, who died in early spring 11 years ago. Six months later, I saw her larger-than-life picture flash across a projected screen during an All Souls service that honored her and fellow church members who had passed that year. It was a big-screen moment, and my mother–as anyone who knew her would tell you–was definitely a big-screen kind of gal. Even so, I think that she would accept this small-screen moment in the spirit that it’s offered–with gratitude and love. And I hope you will as well.
It’s late January—one of those rare, balmy winter days that occasionally happens in Arkansas—and my mother and I have taken advantage of the break in weather to take a day trip to one of our favorite places.
We’ve been making the trek to this mountain town—together and individually—for almost three decades. Its Victorian architecture and cobblestone streets always captivate us, no matter the season. But winter—when it’s quiet—without tourists—makes us feel this is our own private playground. Today, we’ve wandered through the few shops that are open; ambled through a woodland chapel; driven to the panoramic crest overlooking the surrounding valley. We’re happy.
As we head west out of town, winter’s light—the kind that’s clear and golden and makes you want to testify—bathes us and the receding streets with more warmth as the sun begins to set. It’s then that my mother, one eye to the future, says to me, “Perhaps you can live here.” When I’m gone, she means, but she doesn’t have to say more.
soapsuds . . .
mother tells me how
she’d like to die