Poem: Free Verse – In Memory of Evelyn #amwriting #poetry #elegy


Credit: Amanda Eifert
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A few months ago a dear friend passed away at 98 years old. She was a grandma, my great godmother, and in these last few years, a genuine friend. I miss her very much and writing her letters to mail with a poem or small story. It was our thing and I visited her as much as I was able. The last time I saw Evelyn we visited a few hours in her room. Then,  I was leaving and I couldn’t get out the door to reach the elevators. Finally, I got to the elevators went out the front time and stopped. 

I looked back at the wonderful care facility she’d been staying in these past three years. She was in her own home until she was 95. I had this strange feeling that I woldn’t see her again. I gazed back deciding all I could do was hope that in a month or two, she would still be alive and well. I do wish one more visit might have been possible. 

She was a wonderful, outgoing, and opinionated person. She demonstrated great care with people and her hospitality is/was famous. She even drove big trucks and was a mechanic in her day besides working at the Woodwards Department store for many years. For much her life, she was a single mother. Evelyn had many talents, her cooking, her unpredictability, and a spirit that kept on shining and pushing through life’s miseries. 

R.I.P Evelyn. I’ve been trying to finish this last poem for you for a few months.  It’s taken me awhile to get right! I’m so happy you are with our Heavenly Father and no longer suffering in any way. 

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A monument falls, crumbles, 

Although, she was strong. 

An impenetrable force, 

A spit-fire, a trail blazer. 

You can press your hands against thick steel, rock, or concrete, 

Wonder how such monuments are designed, 

Buildings of beauty, fortified through time;

How could they fall? 

Then you realize that soft skin isn’t stone, 

And a woman isn’t a superhero. 

When you gaze into the past, into beloved photographs, 

You see how smooth marble crinkles, 

As fine lines, directions on a map. 

The most elegant calligraphy, 

Words muted in the unforgiving sun. 

And photographs appear in memories, 

The warming light of conversation, 

Over hearth: satisfying food and laughter. 

Yet, still I attempted to see how her puckered lips,

Were once plump, young, and beguiling.

Long gone are her cherubic child’s lips, 

Nearly a century ago. 

And flawless cream skin is marked, 

Lines settled in, can be followed, 

A pattern of an Autumn leaf. 

No monument left to be seen, no eyes sparkling, 

With a smile uniquely hers, 

Never to be repeated;

Only in whispers of genealogy. 

A monument stood and —

She was significant. 

Someone who was seen and not afraid to be, 

A grandma who paraded around, 

 In forty two pairs of shoes — probably more. 

Her body could be strengthened with steel, 

Knees and hips better off with fabrication; 

The real ones worn out. 

Do stone monuments feel the pain of lost children? 

Of polio’s grasp, sucking the life out of a small boy.

Of a little girl who passed away a whisper. 

And of one child who survived, 

A reader, a teacher, a traveller, a builder. 

One who is imperfectly perfect as her.

My godfather with his wife, 

My godmother, both I adore.

Yet, the stubborn cheerfulness, 

Of this monument lives on in her family, 

In her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, 

And beloved relatives and friends;

Partners who marked her life, always leaving early. 

Sisters and brothers, marrying others becoming new brothers and sisters, 

How she adored and missed all them all, 

Passing away before she could blink.

For the most part, she was unsurpassed in years, 

She mourned her family and friends gone first, 

But reunites with them now.

And when she fell, the monument’s pieces scattered, 

Although all feels lost,

She needed her relief in heaven. 

And no one ever thinks that day will come, 

Until it crashes upon those left behind. 

Monuments fall, it happens every minute of every day, 

For every type of personality, 

To each person someday;

Special and authentically themselves. 

It’s okay to morn the monument’s empty place, 

To hunger for her caring advice, 

Her kind words. 

The silence is hard, her not being, 

In her home or in her room.

Now she’s aged, is dust of the earth, 

She is the ideal of herself, the creator’s perfection. 

Her life was imperfect, as we all are, 

It was shadowed by pain and misery; 

Yet her optimism always pulled her through it. 

Remembering her and taking comfort within, 

Her greetings to all those she meets again. 

The suffering and sorrow has ended, so do not cry your tears. 

For every monument is eclipsed, 

Heaven’s radiant light filters into the cracks, 

Rebuilds the rubble. 

Her figure of faith and grace. 

The love she had, that does not die, 

But multiplies in eternity, 

Waiting for her family someday. 

And for her her dear friends. 

 When we arrive, 

She’ll wonder what took us so long. 

Offering a piece of pie, uncooked fresh blueberries in a crust, 

With soft dollops of whipped cream. 

Her timeless love in cooking, baking, hospitality, 

Everyone was always welcome, 

If you weren’t, she’d tell you so. 

True monuments may appear hard and resilient, 

Underneath they are as the rest of us, 

They are frail and human. 

Time will catch up with everyone, 

And we pray we can meet our deaths, 

Mansions prepared in the sky. 

God the only monument, 

 Not our crumbled lives. 

————

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

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Sunday Photo Fiction: It’s Her


There sits the statue of a dog. I remember a certain dog.  She had the qualities of queenleness, loyalty, and love. She was the bringer of fun to a childhood of bike rides down the off leash paths and long walks in the river valley. 

 She ran for miles with my Dad. My Mom said it would not surprise her if that is how the dog died, running her heart out. My Dad had a t-shirt that read: My running partner has four legs. The dog didn’t leave this world running; I don’t think anybody does. 

To me the dog  was a snuggle buddy at whatever time she wished. She would jump up on the couch and put her right paw on me and lean into me until a soft furry tummy was revealed. She’d push her nose into my hand and when I put my head down she’d strike with kisses. 

But our best friends, leave us at a time not of their choice. They are inflicted with sickness, sometimes, ill health that a vet cannot even diagnose. I woke fifteen minutes too late to say goodbye to her. I petted her anyways, she had this beautiful soft fawn coat. 

And I stroked her back and her little ears as she lay on the counter in the back of the vet. She was to be cremated. The blanket she was covered with was truly the veil of death, taking her away. My Dad and I tried not to cry as we both went out to the car. But tears escaped us as we drove home.

 No dog is exactly the same, but they are each unique. Their time in years is short, but they are never forgotten. I place my hand on the statue and memories flood my mind. This statue is not of her, but to me, in my heart, it’s Nikki. 

  
Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting!