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A Mother's Love

by Ken Harnisch

I may not be writing much, she said
Not until the holidays are over
Please forgive me, but
This is the year my son
Will have been dead longer than he was alive.

And it seems the holidays aren’t over
Yet, and I quietly worry she has been
Caught in the whirlpool
Of this reverse nostalgic storm

She is an avid believer in the
Sanctity of her grief. Toppled by the wayside
Are friends and relations who dared to
Question its abiding fortitude

They topple still, those who
Speak out and would hurry her
Along to some Shangri-La called
Getting Over it,
This unclimbable peak in the
Unseeable clouds

Ask her and she will vividly recall
Most moments when he was alive
And she will tell you without equivocation
He was her soul mate, and there remains

She will admit there are those
Who question her hold on sanity
But she has carried on, and parsed out
Her everyday with a banal and reassuring
Grip on the iron bars of lucidity

Her other son is loved; her husband
Stands sentinel to her memories;
Her corresponding friend puts
Her life in perspective and knows
The flame that feeds her fire.

The winter has been so cruel
She cannot tend her gardens yet
Or lose herself on the greens
So the darkness waves its ghostly hand
And always calls her home.

I await the sunlight
When she will again be disposed
To write. To say a millionth time
What she has often said before.

“You need not understand me
To love me, but if you don’t
Do the one it is of no consequence
To me if you to do the other.”

02/16/2015

Author's Note: "We often hold on fiercely...and who's to judge, really?"

Posted on 02/16/2015
Copyright © 2019 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 02/16/15 at 09:52 PM

Does one ever forget or to some extent grieve for a lost son or daughter? I recall my father mentioning a daugther who died before I was born. She would have been 20 or so when he mentioned her. She died at 2 years of age. A poignant and insightful poem.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 02/18/15 at 02:18 AM

Beautiful piece of writing, Ken. Excellent story telling.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 02/18/15 at 10:35 PM

Grief is so different for people. I wonder sometimes if people, especially parents, might feel guilty if they allow themselves to begin to forget a little or even a lot. You've certainly described her vividly here. It is a little creepy to think of her considering him her soul mate, but maybe my definition is different than hers.

Posted by Alison McKenzie on 02/20/15 at 11:36 PM

Lovely tribute, Ken.

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