The Circle of Life

Lately I have been reminiscing about decades gone, and loved-ones passed, and poems written and hidden.

When June passed away more than ten years ago, she didn’t know she’d be my mother-in-law one day, and neither did I. But I cared for her, and I missed her. I wrote a poem for her and recited it at her funeral ceremony. And then I stored it away.

It deserves to be out in the open.

In Honor of June Livziey, December 22, 2007


The Circle of Life

She passed away on Thursday night,
Much sooner than we thought.
But she knew she was going soon.
I could tell by the length
And the strength
Of her last hug
The night before.
She just did not want to let go.

She went
Comforted by the words
And hugs
Of her daughters.
“It’s ok to let go, mom.”
“It’s ok.”
She knew they were there,
The last day,
The last hour,
The last minute.
They were there.

Just like they were
When they were little girls
In Hawaii
And she took care of them
When their father was at sea
Or at war.
The three of them.
Mother always in charge.

I could relate to her
From the first minute we met.
She was so much
Like my own mother,
Who also still mends clothes and darns socks,
Makes home cooked meals,
Cans fruit,
And thinks of family as the highest value
Of all.

She was a giver,
Who talked by giving
And loved by giving.
By writing a check
For a graduation gift.
By crocheting a baby blanket
For someone’s great granddaughter
That she would never meet.
By cooking chicken noodle soup
For me,
And freezing it
In Tupperware,
So there’d always be some
In my refrigerator
For when I have a cold,
Like right now.
I don’t think
I want to thaw
That last batch.

She was a giver,
And a lover.
I am sure
She is loving right now,
The pain finally all gone,
In peace,
And comfort.

We are all here,
Thinking about the things we should have said
Once more,
But didn’t.
Friends, family, celebrating her life,
Her legacy,
And remembering how she lived,
And how she loved,
And how she touched us all.

She taught me
To value the moments more.
To call my own parents more often
Than I used to.
While they are still here,
And I can still call.
She taught me that.

At our Thanksgiving table
She toasted to us,
Pledging to fight
To be with us at Christmas.

It was not to be so.

Her house is a scrapbook
Of her life.
Every plate, every photograph, every gift,
Is a memento
A record of her moments.
She had to leave her scrapbook behind,
As she had to leave everything.

When I walked in her house,
The first thing I saw
Was her purse.
Not one of her nice ones,
But her work purse,
Her shopping purse,
Her everyday purse.

There it sat, on the couch, as it often had,
Her key chain attached to the handle with a ring,
Her wallet in there,
Her camera,
Her Costco card,
And undoubtedly all the other stuff
That she was always rummaging for,
In her purse,
Left there,
On the couch,
Never to be picked up again,
Completing the Circle of Life.

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