Paragon (poem for mom)

I go there often.

To visit.

I enjoy the after hour quiet when night falls and the crowds leave.

On some visits I laugh hysterically – On others I go to cry.

But with each visit I’ve come away comforted when I was hurt,

Hopeful when I have been doubtful,

Encouraged whenever I chanced to dream.

She has always been an icon of strength, chiseled from fine marble.

She stands erect, polished and poised upon a pedestal.

For years I have stood in the security of her shadow

Admiring her form,

Aspiring to be like her.

I have visited during the daylight hours—

Watched others ogle her, listened to their whispers.

There were many who admired her passion and beauty, and Her spirit,

But they moved on.

Lately, I look at her and wonder. –

Did the stress of the throngs, Pawing and staring

Produce the minute cracks around her eyes?

Are her critics to blame for the fractures across her brow?

Or is it my pains that weigh too heavily on shoulders

I thought were unbreakable?

Perhaps it is simply the minute hand in motion

That chips away at the base of the pedestal I built for her.

I want to cushion her and pack her away before she topples and breaks.

But such actions would only extinguish her smile.

I am inclined to encase her in glass, Distance her from the masses,

But that would merely dim the light that glimmers in her eyes

And prevent her from touching others

As she touched me.

No, I think I’ll let her stand

—removed from her pedestal.

Perhaps I’ll notice that she is only human.

None the less, I’ll always love her.

for Marlene Handy, January 1936-October 2014

Remembering Joni

Today is such a beautiful fall day. For me the perfect temperature and a nice mix of sun and clouds that give the sky character and makes me yearn to be outdoors; a painter’s (or photographer’s, or poet’s) dream.  I’m glad I got a chance to enjoy it before it turns into yesterday – and before I know it another year gone. How time flies.

A year ago yesterday my very best friend died. Normally, I would have said that I lost my best friend, but that’s not true. She’s not lost at all. I carry her in my heart and I know she watches over me as she did for more than 40 years.

It’s funny how yesterday came and went and I didn’t give it a second thought. I knew last week that the day was coming. I reminded myself of it again two days ago, and yet this first anniversary came and left and I didn’t think about it anymore until today.   And today I’m not so sad.

I wonder if Joni had anything to do with that clearing of my head?  It is just like something she would do in life. She knew me for 46 years, shared my every wish and hope and dream. If anyone knew how to cheer me up it would be her. Or in this case not allow me to be sad.

I miss her terribly. How can I not?  She is woven into the very fabric of my being and there is not much that I do or experience that I don’t share with her. Only now I do so silently, having cognitive conversations and knowing intuitively her responses.  

I am so grateful for my big “sister” Joni (Joan Elizabeth Smith). My mother’s other daughter, grade school friend, my high school cohort, my children’s Auntie, my confidant, my partner in crime, my BFF, my bud, the peanut butter to my jelly. I could go on, but….

I thought this posting would be longer, filled with remembrances and stories but she’s tugging at me, telling me to get up, get out and enjoy the rest of the day as night falls early now.  I have literally a lifetime of memories and I can tell you stories for the next 40+ years, but right now, the cool crisp air, the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot, and the enchanting colors of autumn are beckoning me and Joni has given me the OK to go out and play.  

PS: Tell someone you love them today.