Vigil at My Mother’s Bedside

Poetry — By on March 2, 2013 at 5:00 am

Lying still, your mouth gapes open.
I wonder if you breathe your last.
Your hair a white cloud.
Your skin softened from disuse.
No washing, digging, planting
Gardens or children
Anymore.

Where do your dreams take you?
At times you wake in your childhood home
Rolling wheat fields, boundless days of freedom.
Other naps take you to your teaching days
Grammar and drama, speech and essays.
Yesterday, you were a young mother again
Juggling babies, farm and your wistful dreams.

Today you looked about your empty nest
Disguised as hospital bed.
Children grown, flown.
You try to control through worry:
Travel safely,
Get a good night’s sleep,
Take time to eat,
Call me when you get there.

I dress you as you dressed me.
I clean you as you cleaned me.
I love you as you loved me.
You try my patience as I tried yours.
I wonder if I have the strength to
Manage mothering you
Forever.

When I tell you the truth,
Your brow furrows as it used to do.
When I disappointed you,
This cannot be
A bed in a room in a sterile place,
Waiting for death,
Waiting for heaven.
Waiting.

And I tell you
Eat, please eat,
Travel safely.
Sleep well.
Call me when you get there.

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