Poem: A Letter to My Mother

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A Letter to My Mother. 

On the Friday before she died, my mother and I walked.
“I just want you to be happy.” she told me.
“I want what I want for all my children, someone to love
and be loved by.”

It was the end of a long walk and a longer conversation,
truth-telling on both sides, deep and often not easy,
a kind of honesty parents and children rarely have,
born of suffering and brokenness, it was for both of us

part of our healing.

It was a good night. A simple meal, cooked together,
and then a walk, just she and I, through her corner of suburbia.
It was the start of spring and there were flowers,
daffodils, and tulips. The smell of fresh cut grass filled the air.

We both broke a sweat climbing the back hill.
We talked about what was ahead, not just geography
but the day to day, hour to hour journey
that had become both of our lives.

Less plans than hopes. Less promises than intentions.
We knew the lesson. All we have is the moment.
A lesson learned by the collapse of every plan we had.
So we talked of the next day. Little more.

A week later I would be at her hospital bed as she breathed
her last breath. Stunned
that this vigorous woman I had walked with just a week before
was gone.

“I just want you to be happy.” she said. For me, to me, her last words.
I would like to be able to write her a letter, and tell her
“I am.”, to tell her of the woman not yet met on that Friday evening walk
who now lives at the center of my life.

She believed in unexpected joys, and I would like to tell her mine,
the strange unfolding story that grew from collapse and loss
to the very thing she wanted most for her oldest child.
my only regret is her not knowing the woman I love

and that the three of us never had the opportunity to walk
in the warm Spring air, flowers blooming,
the smell of fresh cut grass in the air.

About this poem

Purely autobiographical.



  1. So beautiful, Tom. You have the gift of painting pictures with your words. What a beautiful tribute to your Mother…and I bet she knows about the wonderful woman in your life right now!

  2. Ah, that is so heart warming! Your mother’s right there with you, looking at you with utter warmth and love, and I bet there’s a smile on her face when it is on yours. She knows all about the woman you love, and you better know that she dwells in the silence of your conversations, she caresses you when you’re off to sleep. She’s always by your side.
    PS: It was a pleasure reading your poem. It warmed my heart.

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