It was last spring that I wrote “Hanging from the Family Tree” for poetry class, and a year ago that I read it to a group of students, professors, and faculty at a student poetry reading.
Not even two months ago, I’d already had two pieces picked out to read this evening–one serious, the other silly.
That changed a week ago.
Last year, I remember it being dark and cold, but this year, it was mild and sunny. The weather seemed almost profane, in light of all that had transpired.
A part of me had wondered if it was too soon to read a poem about my mom, but I read it anyway, and I’m so very glad I did.
I’d struggled with the piece until after my mother’s funeral yesterday morning, and then, with that small measure of closure, the memories came tumbling out like the contents of a cornucopia. I realized then that when someone is with us, we don’t go around thinking about them, but when they’re gone, we think about them to keep them near, for we fear forgetting even one of the thousand little details that made them, them.
So I asked God if He would grant Mom special permission to listen in tonight. I sort of think that’s how it should work, because I don’t want my loved ones up there watching me to go to the bathroom, among other things. (That might be quite embarrassing.)
I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get through it without weeping, but I think when Q–the first poet of the night–opened with his piece about losing his mother, his story startingly parallel to my own, I shed the tears that were in store.
And what a blessing it was to be among friends that night–to share with them something of myself.
Student Poetry Night was a catharsis for me, for I believe every time we share a story of a loved one, it’s like they are right there with us, and that wherever they are in the heavens, they hear their name and know that they are missed.