Poetry and Essays

About My Mother

Total Eclipse Of The Heart

By Beth Grimm, August 21, 2017

It was a Tuesday
nothing ever happens on Tuesday
except this Tuesday

People gathered in a 14 mile wide swath
across the entire United States
from Madres, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
I gathered my thoughts
I didn’t travel physically
but made the journey into the heavens
Eyes protected by cloud cover.

Different worries in ancient times
People had no warning, no explanation,
We had predictions,
Similar in intensity, but different.
Fears of vast power outages,
inadequate cell phone towers,
too little lodging
unimaginable traffic,
the sun in its profundity,
anxious people in the path.

In ancient times, who could know it would pass
and become no more than an event in history?

On August 21, the World didn’t end,
cell phones didn’t stop working,
power grids came back to life,
highways filled up with the homebound
carrying amazing stories close to their hearts.

I wasn't in the swath
Not among those that ventured far from home
But I lived it
I felt it
Was present in spirit
it went very deep, and lead to silent reflection.

Understanding enlightens.
How frightening it must’ve seemed
ages ago.
Who could have possibly understood?
as the cone of darkness moved toward throngs?
And so, as it was, for us, my siblings and I.

After the eclipse, I would hear one account
Some in the path came away euphoric, high, hopeful.
Then I would hear another account,
Not so bright.
Of tears, fears, silence and worry, as things turned toward darkess.

We knew, like the eclipse, things would turn dark eventually,
But we had no knowledge of how long, how dark,
The darkness by degrees hung over us
Sun sustains life, and reflects light, hope and joy,

Slowly … over four months ‘ time…
we looked to the west and saw the light
the light of the past,
we looked to the East and watched the cloud coming
It crept along its path
we did what we needed to do.
We spent quality time even under the shadow
Each of us had the opportunity
to fulfill our own wants and needs.
It just kept getting darker although we struggled to keep the light.
We were anxious, but tried not to show it.
And as the shadow crept toward my mother
We each gave what we were best at giving.

On the first day of the year, a fall brought about the shadow
And like the eclipse of the sun
It moved slowly along its anticipated path.
And then invaded, fully shrouding,
And all went into total darkness on May 4, 2017.

And at the end, there was the image
branded in my mind
my mother lying in bed in the nursing home,
covered to the neck in a soft blanket,
but a wistful dichotomy,
void of all animation, quality of life, and future…
Eyes closed, not wanting to come back.

2017 was a spring full tears, sobs, wonder, silence
And fears,
But after, came joy, relief, acceptance and comfort
A light washed over me,
Relieved that there would be no more suffering,
and all the things good came
Knowing that life would go on
New strength
New light
New hope
New courage
New alignment with universe

It was a total eclipse of the heart.

Not Picking Daisies

By Beth Grimm, July 2017

The children on the hill
What are they doing?
Picking daisies?
Hunting Easter eggs?
Where are their baskets?
What are they thinking?
Wind is blowing
Taking the ashes here and there

At 9 and 9, 12, and 13
Innocence unblemished
Grab a baggie,
Everyone is doing it.
Follow the piper.
Grandpa Will.
Up the hill.

Some take a handful
and scatter carefully among the flowers
Some daintily shake the fine dust
out of the corner of the baggie.
One throws caution
and the ashes to the wind
And experiences some blowback
It happens to the piper also
At his sister's call
He turns for a picture
Hand open
And ends up with Grandma Iva
on his suit and newly polished shoes
Everyone laughs

What do you suppose
the kids are thinking?
What a fun game?
Grab the baggies and run
Excited with possibility
There are no rules!
There was no prize
There was no competition
There was no medal
There was no trophy
And they loved it anyway

Innocent childlike behavior
Joining in...Being a part of something

I will remember it fondly all my days
As not picking daisies
But putting them back
In the beautiful garden.

And I'll see my mother,
looking down,
A twinkle in her eye
a smile on her lips.