choosing to cherish…

“I miss Dolly,”  her faint voice trembled
with over ninety years of love and loss,
her tiny frame seated near my kneeling down
as I planted the blooms that will keep her company
in the living and letting go.

Her goodbyes have been a long and steady stream,
husband,  siblings,  family and friends
…so many graveside goodbyes,
sitting small now in the yard,  wistful eyes tugging at memory
and searching the windows of Dolly’s house empty next door
still unsold and looking  painful hollow.


I listened to the homesick  sound her heart made
and clucked soft and pulled weeds from Dolly’s bed,  too,
so the lonely wouldn’t grow so tall
and filled Sara’s  bowl with attention and fresh water
and “I hear you” and “I care”
and made sure the flowers will sing her their sweetest songs

and packed up my tools and the wisdom
that is her gift to me,
this freshly fertilized choice to cherish
and I tuck it in close to heart as I drive away
and hear it deep down,
hear it clear and strong:
Show up.
Don’t waste this.

Life is shorter than our busy days can make it seem.
Be here now.


“To live in this world,  you must be able to do three things.
To love what is mortal,  to hold it against your bones
knowing your own life depends on it,
and when the time comes to let it go,
let it go.”

-Mary Oliver


  1. Julia Bourque on April 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Letting go of someone we hold dear is so difficult as is looking on the one left behind in loneliness and longing.
    Living in the moment seems to be a difficult thing for most of us no matter how often we are reminded of the shortness of life. If we only could grasp the reason for us being here, maybe we would live more in the moment in constant love, peace and joy.
    Hugs & prayers

  2. Elephant's Child on April 29, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Letting go is so very difficult. Which is a form of selfishness I suppose. A beautiful post, and reminder. Many thanks.

  3. Deborah on April 29, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Simply beautiful.
    I can smell the dirt and see the loneliness in her eyes.

  4. sharon leaf on April 29, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I’ve experienced these emotions over the past few months. Letting go, yet still mourning. Grasping the now. Rejoicing with fond memories. Thank you, dear Jennifer, for this Monday message.

  5. Lindsay on April 29, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I had to say goodbye to someone too some weeks ago… letting go is never easy. Wishing you and your family lots of love, comfort and hugs! Thank God we have the soil beneath our feet, to remind us we’re here, living now. Thanks sweety!

  6. Naomi on April 29, 2013 at 9:29 am

    So heartfelt, Jennifer. I, too, know that letting go is the most wrenching of all emotions. Beautifully said.

  7. Anne on April 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Again, Jen, your beautifully inspired words of truth bring me to tears. My favorite line: “this freshly fertilized choice to cherish’, because it IS our choice to be fully present. Thank you again for sharing your gifts with us.

  8. Joan Creasy on April 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    This is beautiful, Jen!! BLESS you for listening, caring and loving this dear one. Thank YOU for the reminder that every day is a wonderful gift to be cherished. YOU certainly are!! Love you, Precious Gift! Mom

  9. Sandra L. on April 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I found out yesterday that someone I loved very much when I was a teenager has passed on. She struggled with drug addiction for a long time, but from her obituary, I could tell she had found serenity. I am happy she found peace, yet sad that she did not live a long life.
    I am struggling with appreciating the present.

  10. leslie on April 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    i needed to read this, today. so glad i came by. so thankful for you. (i’ll bet your friend is, too)

  11. rachel awes on April 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    yes, in it all, through all that passes (+ indeed it all does),
    we are called to be here now.
    beautifully written + known, friend. xox

  12. Suzanne McRae on April 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Beautiful Jennifer. Your words are profound, “when it’s time, let it go, let it go”. This is helping me understand something with greater ease today. Thank you for that message. xo

  13. kathryn on April 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    a beautiful poem to honor your neighbor and friend…really awesome, love it!!!

  14. Kathy on April 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Wow. With everything going on in my life and in my heart, this poem touched me so deeply. Jennifer, thank you. Thank you. Kath

  15. jeanie on May 1, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Oh, yes, my friend. So much shorter than we think and grabbing every moment is essential. This hits home with me on a number of levels, some of which you probably already know. Thank you for this.

  16. Jan on May 2, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Lovely thought provoking post. Really hit home.

  17. Barbara on May 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    You have written some beautiful posts, Jennifer, but this has got to be one of my favorites. I’m tucking it away close to my heart to whisper to me when I forget its wisdom. Thank you!

  18. lisleman on May 2, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    “Life is shorter than our busy days can make it seem” – well said.
    This makes me wonder why some people desire to be busy. Busy has never relaxed me.

  19. Missing moments on May 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Wonderful wisdom. Love Mary Oliver and her words.

  20. Susan on May 8, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Show up
    Don’t waste this

    Perfect advice from your lovely heart ~ thank you

  21. Just Be Real on May 10, 2013 at 3:59 am

    Lovely Jen. Hugs to you….

  22. kamana on May 10, 2013 at 10:40 am

    i read so many emotions here. hoping all is well with you and that you enjoy a lovely mothers day weekend.
    Hugs to you my friend.

  23. Connie Smiley on May 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    How good of you, Jennifer, to be comfort. I love what you did for her, and what you do for us, and that first beautiful shot of the flowers with timbers in the background.

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