Mother Passed Too Soon

I was 20 when she passed.
too young to have gained appreciation
for the truly valuable things.

Would she have been proud of me?
I can only guess.

Did she find me interesting
or was I just another annoying adolescent?

I think of her often,
especially when my children ask what I was like as a child.
I don’t really know.
The bastion of memories that is a mother
is no longer here.

There are no witty words from her
that I can remember.

I do carry images of her in my mind,
ones of her bent over a washtub
as she washed our cloths by hand,
and how the consequences of poverty,
would take her life.
I remember saying, “Mom, when I grow up, Ill give you all the things you need.”
Boyhood promises I meant to keep.

But etched in memory, is the night she died.

“I arrive at the hospital—
I stare at the woman who bore me, fought with me, and loved me.
She is unconscious;
the white pillow that supports her head serves as contrast
for the dark black hair that cries out—
I’m still young.
A plastic mask covers the beautiful brownness that reveals her heritage.

Plastic tubes and wires make themselves part of her being;
what surrounds her are expensive mechanical symbols of a wealthy society.
There for her death, but not for her life.”

I wish she’d lived longer,
I could have delivered on the promises made.

The inspiration for this poem, is that there aren’t always Kodak moments in life and the strongest memories are often the tragic ones. My mother passed away in her 40s, but it was a life of poverty and hardships along with ten kids to contend with in a time, in America, when not everyone had access to healthcare, and if the times had been gentler, she might still be here. Mothers are the keepers of all the treasured memories a family will ever have, and when she is gone, so are the many untold stories she treasured. Everyone born has a mother, therefore every child is blessed. A stanza in this poem is taken from the non-fiction story titled “The Passing” which can be found in the non-fictions section of this site.

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