|Dad & Mom,, in Southern Pines NC|
Her death was not unexpected; she'd been fighting lung cancer for a year, and it really was astonishing that she had held on for so long. Maybe I wanted to ignore reality, but her death still seemed surprising to me.
I don't remember when I heard this poem, but it immediately touched a chord with me:
Up and DownI like the poem's bemused discussion of up-and-down, back-and-forth, in-and-out. The sudden explanation of before-and-after, with its abruptness, is much as I perceived my mother's death. One day she was still alive; and then she wasn't.
by Beverly Rollwagen
I don't know anything
for sure unless I look it up,
but sometimes I can figure
things out if I write them
down. So it's up and down
all day long. It's a good life.
Better than back and forth
or in and out which I find
constraining. I have up
and down in balance and
with my mother's death
have discovered the true
meaning of before and after.
Years ago, when I was a freshman at MSU, I read a conference talk by Thomas Monson (in those days, conference wasn't generally available on TV, and the internet didn't exist yet, so we had to wait for talks to be printed in the Ensign magazine). The talk was Behold Thy Mother, and through the years, I have periodically reread it, to remind me that mothers should be remembered, blessed, and loved. I think that between us, we kids did a good job in that respect.
And now, during the 'after' of Rollwagen's poem, I go on with my life, and think of mom now and then, and wonder what she's up to, and express surprise that I've lived ten years without her. And, I look forward to our next meeting, sometime in the future.