Midweek Poetry. A Mother’s End.

Relationships between mothers and their children seem to change as the young become adults. If the early life of the child is one of some happiness and love then I’d like to think it would get better. When it’s one of pain and abuse in its worst form then life can only get more complicated, a genuine love hate relationship that shatters ones soul. After my father died mother moved to the Gold Coast and lived alone in a tiny flat. She seemed happy with her life but couldn’t stop interfering in mine, an abyss formed in our relationship that lasted for four years. At 5am on a Monday morning I woke to get ready for work, then fell asleep and found myself standing by her bed. She writhed in agony, mouth wide open in the throes of what I found out later to be her first heart attack of the day.

I woke up feeling unwell and a little disturbed. The rest of the day I suffered chest pains and a splitting headache and on returning home went straight to bed and slept. My youngest brother rang at 7pm and told me she was in hospital having suffered a heart attack, the second one outside the chemist shop in Tweed Heads. I drove straight down with my wife and two other passengers, the eerie forms of my dead grandmother and uncle sitting quietly in the back seat. When we arrived at the hospital I went straight to her room in ICU. Standing at the door the room changed from a dark place filled with machines and mother on the bed, to a bright white room with her lying dead in a shroud. The poem says it all.

A Mother’s End.

It came, we hadn’t spoken for so long.

Was the shared pain so great?

I felt yours in the morning when I flew to your side,

Did you see me?

The hospital room, quiet, clinical,

machines keeping you here.

It vanished.

Your shroud covered body

took its place.

I knew the end was here.

Your face a marble effigy, lines gone.

I took your hand, we whispered ‘Sorry,’

I saw beaches drenched in moonlight

and you, walking alone.

You left us a little piece at a time,

visiting the other side.

Holding your hand I saw them waiting.

Your spirit rose in a ball of light,

a swirl of colours that stopped in mid air.

Were you waiting for me to follow?

I had no tears left,

I’d already grieved.

I think you loved me once,

that was long ago,

far away.

Was I your comfort?

You were a casualty of the war of life.

Were your wounds greater than mine?

Why didn’t you shelter me from

the shrapnel of your failure?

Laurie Smith copyright 2013

This photo was taken on the ship coming to Australia in 1960.

It’s the only picture of her where I think she was truly happy.

Mum

6 thoughts on “Midweek Poetry. A Mother’s End.

  1. patgarcia

    My Dear Brother,
    This poem speaks thousand of words regarding lack and failure of being able to show love. A person comes into this world but no one knows his or her plight. No one knows whether that person will receive the nurture, the affection, the trust that he or she needs to face a world that is not always fair.

    In many ways our own challenge as little people who become big people is to overcome those deficients that we have. I believe everyone, regardless of the childhood environment, is born with deficients that they need to overcome. If that is so, then our responsibility to take charge of our lives begin when we realize that there is something missing that no one else can give us but ourselves. This something missing is what we must find and when we find it, we began to evolve into what we are supposed to be.

    The most striking words about your poem are, “I took your hand, we whispered sorry.”

    Sorry is the reconciliation of acceptance where your mother apologize for not being what you needed her to be. This sorry I believe your mother realized.

    Maybe we should all realize that even our parents were born with deficiencies in their egos that may not have been healed in their childhood. Maybe your mother’s need to escape and go to Australia was her heart yearning for life that she had not yet found.

    Regardless of what happen in your childhood, I believe your mother did the best she could with what she had.

    All the best.
    Shalom,
    Your sister

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Hi Sis, well that hit a chord in you I think. What a great reply, you have this knack of getting right into the heart of the matter. We have to grow from our past and try to be what we’re supposed to be and achieve something. I feel she went from one abusive home straight into another without really noticing the difference. I don’t think she ever found what life wanted her for and that is the sad thing. As an adult I can look back and see what made her. As a child I could only see her for what she was at the time and that is what we remember. I agree she did the best she could but sometimes I think she should have walked away. hard in those days but women have done it. Anyway she gave me one thing, determination.
      Cheers
      Bro.

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      Reply
    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      That’s nice coming from a great poet like yourself. The deeper the pain and emotion the better the words flow, well for me anyway I can’t speak for anyone else. It was a good pic of mother, ah life.
      Laurie.

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