the world has seen the stars as they turn by,
another set of bed clothes put away,
to occupy, unknowing of the past —
the state where everything must go, at last.
they sky is singing: perfect artistry,
a gathering of silent coterie
the heaviness of wings that have no birds,
the noise of feelings that can’t find their words.
there is one pattern,
any, everywhere —
the heart at last to float
on open air
My mother, the mother of my sister, brother, and me, did indeed die, December 5th, 2018.
She was ready.
I’m grateful for the 17 days I got to spend with her last month. I’m glad my she and my brother got to see each other as well. My sister and her husband were there with her at both the beginning and the end of the last six weeks of her life.
Even though my father was one of seven children, and my mother one of fifteen, to me, growing up, the five of us were what I considered “my family”. That was largely because we lived in Florida and my grandmother and aunts and uncles were spread all over the country, albeit with a concentration near Rochester and Niagara Falls, New York.
Times when we siblings have been able to gather together have been very few in the last few decades: there was Christmas my parents’ last year in Florida (1998), my father’s funeral (2004), and my mother’s 80th birthday party (2011).
In a weird way, I think my mother was prouder of us for being there at the end than of anything else any of us ever did, individually or collectively, because there really wasn’t anything we could do except be there.
And “being there” is what any family, literal or metaphoric, is all about.