For the past year,
my mother has existed solely
in old, worn photographs.
The mother of joy and connection,
craft projects and mystery trips,
bare feet and clay sculpture.
Just one year ago,
the mother I encountered
was a shadow of this younger woman.
Drink, despair and disease
had robbed us all of her true self.
as time passes and her death
adds distance to the darker days,
the mother of my childhood
returns in vivid color.
Any pain from the last twenty years
is falling away,
leaving only the gleaming
portrait of a mother whole.
10 thoughts on “Family Portrait”
Poetry is so helpful in working through mixed emotions. You expressed your emotions so well here. I love the picture.
Absolutely beautiful post. My mother had different issues, but the end of her life was difficult. She has been gone 18 years, and I now remember primarily her good days and am so grateful for the wonderful mother I had. So glad you are experiencing that as well.
Writing heals. Your slice today proves this so well.
So glad this March is helping you to remember good memories.
This is beautiful. “Any pain from the last twenty years/ is falling away, / leaving only the gleaming / portrait of a mother whole.”
Your beautiful way with words brought tears to my eyes. May time and writing continue to bring you peace. I love the wisdom hiding in your the last four lines.
Well said – and glad that you can let the painful memories go and hold on to the good years. My mothers last few years were not happy ones for her or us and I quickly decided to work on letting them go and pulling out the old memories of fun time when we were little. I love the way you voice your feelings in your poetry. Thanks for sharing them with us!
This is heart-wrenching in its stark beauty. Pain. loss, lament, anguish all give way to beauty, joy, and love, though what? Grace and forgiveness. Yours is a radiant poem of grace and forgiveness in a most human and flawed circumstance. But after all – that’s what allows it to happen in the first place and to eventually heal. Love wins.
So grateful to have read this piece. Thank you.
The journey to recover your mother is shown beautifully in your writing.
Wow. I just wrote a post admitting that I don’t know how to critique others’ poetry. But even my untrained eye feels the power in this poem. ‘a mother whole’. What a line. Powerful and painful. Thank you for sharing.