Arboretum Flags – Blue and White Iris
Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
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Heaven is filled with the gorgeous sound of my Mother’s laugh today. She passed away on Thursday evening. Just as many had predicted, the world tilted under my feet, and life is not the same. I’ve learned a lot since Thursday. I’ve learned that amazing friends will carry you on their shoulders when your heart is sad. I’ve learned that sisters are some of life’s most precious gifts. I am quite certain my Mother is writing poetry again. I woke up this morning with a funny little song in my head that had the words, “I’m so proud of you, Nanny…” in it, and though I can’t remember the rest, it felt like a message from a guardian angel with a sense of humor.
Holding my Mother’s spiral notebooks of poetry, I felt a sense of absolute peace and calm the morning after she left us. Her typed poetry is on yellowed paper. Her written notes are in shorthand, and some are in tiny print. Poems under construction are scribbled through, rewritten in margins, and then typed perfectly in courier. I found things in her notebooks that I had never noticed before. A card from Poetry Magazine, offering prizes of “$50, $100, and even $500!” for winning poems. I remember when we were small, how she saved a few dollars back from grocery money each week to buy us school clothes. I wonder now if her poetry wasn’t just about creating art with words, but one more way she was trying to make our lives better.
I taught a class at the Dallas Arboretum Saturday. At lunch break, as I sat in the quiet classroom by myself gazing across the easels at my students’ work, and seeing the sunlight streaming in from the skylights, I realized my Mom had just watched me teach for the first time.
I do believe there is a beautiful next chapter in this life. I do believe there are more poems to come. For now, I will keep moving forward with her spirit beside me and the memory of her laugh in my heart. I will love you forever, my Mom.
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