Sunday, October 25, 2009

Celebrating My Mother

In Judaism, we light a Yarhzeit Candle to celebrate our loved ones who have died.

Today is the third anniversary of my mother's death. I loved her dearly, and still do. I'd like to share four of her poems--some from my childhood. Only two are dated, but mama typed them in a 6" x 8" black leather book, titled in gold ink: In My Life by Marjorie Schwartz. I had the book made for her many years ago, and it is now one of my favorite keepsakes.

What's interesting is that since my parents died, seeing their handwriting has always made me smile. But, seeing my mother's typed pages does as well. Years ago, I helped her choose an IBM Selectric II at a local typewriter store. Each week, mama sat at her desk (which had been my grandfather's desk and is now mine), and typed (in triplicate with carbon paper between the sheets) her weekly column for a neighborhood newspaper. But, over the years she also typed hundreds of poems, some of which we'd find in our lunch bags at school, and my father would find on his pillow when he went to bed at night.

When I was a child, my mother's poems made me laugh, smile, and sometimes tear up. They still do.

For Susan
do you have the problem of a middle child?
the consensus is...you do
if you've an older one and a younger one
psychiatry says you're through.
in our house...the big one
is the very first grandson
and the little one's precocious and wild
but...our one in the middle plays the fiddle
and her charm has us completely beguiled.


I Miss You (for my father)
It's almost 3 years
And your face is beginning to fade
And the plans that we made
I have finally laid to rest
But those 45 years
Were the best
And even though your face is dimming
And you are gone and I am living
I miss you...
with every breath I take.


Would It Be Right? (November, 1992)
Would my children find it shocking
If, for Chanakuh, I brought their children
An absolutely smashing Christmas stocking?


Mama (December, 1975. This one was for my grandmother.)
Mama dear
If I had know you were going to die
I would have hugged you and kissed you
and said goodbye.

14 comments:

Danielle said...

Those were beautiful!! What lovely memories! The Christmas stocking made me laugh.

Wendy Love said...

Oh how precious Susan! Thanks for sharing such personal poetry. My mom has been gone for six years now but I still have so many special memories.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Danielle,
Thank you! My mother had a great sense of humor!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Wendy,
Thanks for your comment. It's great to have loving memories, isn't it?

Susan

Cami Black said...

Susan...I miss your mom very much. Our luncheons will live in my memory for years to come. I enjoyed her company so very much. I feel blessed she was in my life since you married Bernie!
Love, Cami

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Cami,
Thanks for your comment. You were darling to my mother, and I've always appreciated it.

Love,
Susan

Emma said...

Dear Susan,

I am thinking of you. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your mother through her poems. I know this is a bittersweet time of many memories, some sad with an aching sense of loss, others happy which lift the heart and bring a smile to the lips. It seems one can move from laughter to tears in just a moment.
Thank you so much for your support over the past weeks. Still not really back, but did so want to send my love to you at this time.
Emma

sallyo said...

What sweet poems! And how fun to have so much of your mother's writings. Sweet memories of loved ones gone help ease the loss.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Emma,
I'm so delighted and relieved to hear from you. I know you lost your mother as well, and that you know how I feel.

I'm so glad you felt well enough to comment--even if you're still not "out of the woods" so to speak!

With love,
Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Sallyo,
Yes, it is quite wonderful to have a written legacy of my mother's life. I have newspaper columns she wrote, and a lot of other writing aside from poems.

Susan

shawnalyne said...

Ah, the enduring power of words! Thanks for sharing!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Shawnalyne,
Isn't that the case? You're welcome.

Susan

Tamara (TC) Staples said...

Susan,

How wonderful to have such a special book to remember your mother by. What love she put in her poems. I know you miss her very much. I am sending you hugs!

Love,
Tamara

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
It's a truly lovely thing to have, and makes a huge difference to me. Thanks for the hugs!

Love,
Susan