Tender goodbye mornings…..

It’s been twelve days since my mother left this earth
and I’ve lived each one of them,
lived them full and awake and as tenderly open as I know how.
The days just before were some of the most intense that I’ve known and I’m not ready
to unpack those and make words for them yet.
But I’m up before the sun to remember the gifts that found me these days
in the exquisite pain of love.

For the heave of relief that her considerable suffering is no more,
that her body and being were able to rest back peaceful into those everlasting arms
that she trusted to carry her home.
And for the memory of her smile as she leaned into the turn.

For the fog that wrapped the next morning as I made my way to work,
as if the clouds understood my need to disappear for just awhile
and so came down to offer cover those first gritty hours.
And the chores that let my hard tangle of feelings get dirty and sweaty
and walk hard and long until they drained off soft again.
For the fatigue that came from work instead of waiting.

For the black and blue swallowtail that fluttered around me slow,
and then around again and again in soft circles around my face
while Hope watched and cried because she said she saw it happen to another
the day after she too lost her mother
and my heart felt it like a massage
and my breath went deep.

For the kindness of friends who
loved me in it all
and let me say my pain.
And the song that came alongside to walk me through
* Let it Fall* by Over the Rhine

For the goldfinches who flew alongside my window.

For a table thick with laughter and family and Mexican Train
and the soul food of being there loved.

For time on the deck with my sister while the stars bent low to kiss the ridge tops
and how we felt it thin the line between here and there
and got to say our things and listen and understand;
For the butter and balm of that starry night share.

For the project that wouldn’t wait and was lightning strike to my tired places,
a jolt into a focus that gave my grief a shelf for keeping until.
For the way it challenged my art making expansive and stretchy
when I wanted to curl up and just not.
For the deep breath of yes between my bones when we finished.

For the kindness of words written on little bites of art – the magic
of cards that travel through the mail to rest in my box.
And for the gift of needed provision that arrived just exactly when,
like care packages from heaven.

That the food poisoning didn’t kill me
though, Lord,  felt like it tried:)

For the kindness of hands that tugged the sadness from my feet
and rubbed the weight from my shoulders with a sigh.

It feels a primal sort of pain to lose a mama
and I fling thanks for the goodness of mine
and for every drop of comfort and challenge  along the way.
Today I will tug free the words I’ll share at her service on Friday
and God it feels daunting to pick up the pen.

Thanks for letting me  prime the pump and share with you here,  my treasured friends.
I appreciate your kind listen.

“‘Cause rain and leaves and snow and tears and stars,
and that’s not all my friend,
they all fall with confidence and grace,
So let it fall,  let it fall.”
– Jerome Detweiler
Over the Rhine


  1. Elephants Child on September 29, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring are flowing your way.
    I hope that the beauty you saw in the midst of the ache, the fear and the pain grows and gives you a bounteous harvest.
    Today, and every day.

    • jennifer on October 30, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      Feeling those hugs and oceans, Sue; thank you.
      I love your words and hold them close.
      Much grace and gratitude,

  2. Julia on September 29, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Losing something as precious as a mother leaves a big gap in the heart.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sending you some love, caring, and prayers to help soothe the aching that comes in waves.
    Hugs, ❤️

    • jennifer on October 30, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks for that love and care and those prayers – riding the waves
      and grateful for your many kindnesses:)

  3. jeanie on October 1, 2019 at 7:07 am

    Oh, Jennifer, I’m not sure there is anything more challenging than losing your mother. Those days right after — a blur of things that must be done, people to see — they are so hard, so full of emotion. I am grateful that you felt cared for and loved during that time and now and can begin with that back-and-forth journey of peace and healing. Sending loads of love and cyber hugs across the land to store away for when you need them in the days ahead.

    • jennifer on October 30, 2019 at 1:06 pm

      Back and forth – yes. No straight lines there.
      Just so many, many waves.
      Thanks for those hugs – pulling them out today
      with big thanks,

  4. Patty Hight on October 1, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    It feels a primal sort of pain to lose a mama! Both through adoption and death. I have experienced both. Sending you all the love and light that my heart can share.
    Love you!

    • jennifer on October 30, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      I feel those words so deeply. I honor your experiences and sit with you in my heart over them.
      And send love in droves.
      Love you my Pad:)

  5. Anjie on October 4, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Grace, grace for minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. So much love and gentle care during this time. Work can be a great diversion and healing normalcy. Love you.

    • jennifer on October 30, 2019 at 1:04 pm

      Hey there, friend. Big thanks for your kindness.
      Work was a big heave of breath for a while and then I hit a wall of fatigue
      and needed instead rest and time to process. I know now what “everyone’s journey
      is unique” feels like in a realer way. Grateful for all the grace along the way.
      Thanks for your calls and texts; it’s meant much.
      Big love to you,

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