Smothers the breath of life
And brings the sleep of death…ready
(Cinquain) PMCBurkey 2006
The lilacs have come and gone,
Forsythia blossoms done.
Wood violets she liked best,
Now with Mom they’re all at rest.
(Summer 2005) PMCBurkey
Now every June will come and go
Without the Mother I loved so.
The painful struggle she endured
With grace…I felt so hopeless, Lord.
When Spring comes ’round again next year
Only memories I’ll have near.
Please take the bitter, leave the sweet,
Then hopeful may each Spring I greet.
AN EMPTY SPACE
The loss of a parent is hard to bear
For want of their presence, their love and care.
It’s hard to accept we won’t have them here
To celebrate holidays, birthday cheer.
We expect to see them walk in the door
Like so many times in the days of yore.
Just to hear their voice on the telephone
Would help us to know that we’re not alone.
We will never again say “Mom or Dad”
To that one who loved us here, good or bad.
An empty space will be left in our heart
Till in Glory we meet, never to part.
On the final day of treatment, Mom came home with her ‘mask’ in time for Halloween. It was a full-head screen enclosure with formations for her nose and chin. The whole thing was framed at the back so Mom could be clamped down to a table. This prevents any movement during treatments. The mask fit tightly while clamped down and was very painful. After each treatment she looked like someone had taken a window screen with enlarged holes and wrapped it tightly around her head. The screening, which embedded itself onto her face and neck, took a while to disappear. She sure was a shock to see that first time, and I thank God she didn’t have a mirror! We certainly didn’t know what to expect.
One day, after Mom’s radiation treatments, I heard an interview of author Jane Yolen. Her newest book, “Radiation Sonnets”, contains a poem for each day her husband had radiation treatments for a brain tumor. She describes “The Mask” in two of them. The last entry in her book is :
On this final day, this graduation,
From the harrowing halls of treatment,
From the harsh teachings of radiation,
Burning as learning (or so the heat meant)
You hold out toward me your secret mask,
That sculpted instrument of torture.
I accept it without being asked,
This relic of the cancer culture.
How could I know what went on inside
That hidden, that forbidden room,
Where your scull lay opened wide
To the ray’s ever more deadly perfume?
The mask keeps hidden what we most fear.
All I know now is that you are still here.
by – Jane Yolen
My sentiments too, Jane. Thank you.
(PMCBurkey October 2003)