Learning to Let Go – Graduation on the Horizon

mother and son dancing

I dance in the reflection of my son’s brown eyes and hear the ebb and flow of our years together sing out across this space between us.  Every note rings true a memory, and as he speaks I hear his voice so long ago.  The years he called me ‘Mommy,’ and sat for hours in my lap with coloring books or Tonka trucks in the mud; a crescendo of sheer bliss.  The year he stopped calling me ‘Mommy’ and I became ‘Mom’ and he didn’t fit in my lap any longer but needed clean football gear and rides to and from school for practice.  When we stopped reading together at night because he’d learned what he needed.  The cuts and bruises he eventually didn’t need tended too by an over-reactive mom.  The homework that I could help him with, until he became smarter than me. When he still looked for me in the audience and smiled once he found me.   He is sitting now, before me, in all of his six foot, two hundred pound frame and we’re talking but I can only see the acceptance letter from the college and the moment I held him for the first time after Boot Camp.

The music shifts and the ghosts from years past ask if I was a good enough mother to this young man.  Did I raise him as he deserved, does he believe in my unconditional love, and why did it go so fast that I couldn’t seem to learn quick enough to do it better?  When did my little boy grow up?  I want to reach for him, but I can still hear he is speaking to me so I pause and briefly see that still, deep down, behind those wise young eyes I still exist.

We are moving in a stanza of great momentum, where the movements take on a life of their own and there is nothing you can do but brace for the great clash of impact; his leaving soon.  From my arms, my home, and my early morning sweet smiles and hugs; life will be forever different.  The dance will change and the music will shift and I will learn now how to be a different mother to this precious child who has outgrown me.  I pray in my soul that I have not failed him.  His voice changes, and from it I am pulled away from the dance, “Yes?” I finally speak back.

“So, can I?” He asks.

I nod my head.  He hugs me, “Thanks Mom.”

I watch him walk away.  The music comes to an end.  I wonder what it was he asked.  I look over at the chair that is now empty.  He’ll be back.  Maybe not as he once was, but he’ll be back.  And I will be here.


Just Stand Up: A Brother’s Wise Advice

It was an early morning phone call and I didn’t expect to tell my younger brother how I was really feeling, but the truth came spilling out.  A bad day turned into a few more bad days, a grieving, a loss, a sorrow … the building of things heavy for a heart to carry.  When the light begins to fade.  When putting one foot in front of the other becomes a mission.  Everyone of us feels it.  Then, that choice we make to reach out; to be real.  To be authentic.  What I didn’t expect was his heart in return.  I had no idea he loved me enough to go there with me … and to allow it to be what it was.  To sit with me in that quiet place and not require me to be anything but that.  Then, the hope.  That eventually, I would find the strength to stand back up again.  To every brother out there with a sister who relies upon his wisdom, his unconditional love, his strength and above all – his raw honesty and love.  We sisters need you more than you know.  Thank you brother.


I will go where you are.

Because I love you that much.

Just remember,

we don’t have to stay here forever.

You can stand up.

Here’s my hand.

You can take it.

When you’re ready.

Until then,

I’ll stay right here with you.

And while we sit here,

for this while,

I will tell you about all the

times you were standing.

Every moment of courage

and triumph.

The storms you navigated

the waves you jumped

the mountains you climbed.

And I’ll remind you

that weary and tired

is just a call to rest.

To be still.

It’s not failure.


Your body, your mind,

your heart.

Nourish the temple that you are.

Feed the spirit.

In the quiet,

while we wait here

in this place,


I will tell you a hundred stories

and in each one

you are the hero.

Because when the waters came

you remembered,

all you had to do was stand up.

I’ll be here.

Right here.

Until you’re ready to do it again.



My heart aches, breaks, and tatters and ripples with the grief and pain of those I love recently.  This is the best way I know how to deal with it.  There are no words of comfort, no answer to, “What do you need?” and often times … the only true way to heal is to cry out.  In my own way of dealing with all of this pain I write.  It does not measure the pain of those who are grieving, but perhaps in some way it will assure someone out there … you’re not alone.  There is a reason to reach out.  To believe.  To cry.  Your tears matter.



She sits with the silence of thirty years of wonder

how it brought her here to this time,

when she had the hunger,

and it went.

with a breathe

that stung her.

Why believe?

Why Reach?

Why Try?

Let the pain fly.


You’re stronger when you weep.


She cries.

The hours spent just to try,

so they can see her for who she is

and the second it’s blown away

with a rumor.

An innocent kiss

turned ice without honor.

Mommy, help me.

And it went,

with a breath,

that stung her.

Why believe?

Why reach?

Why try?

let the pain fly.

And everything else … keep.


She can’t write.

Missing man inside the picture

of a perfect family,

lost inside a bottle,

a bag of indecency.

Choosing himself and his agony

over the bills and me.

Dear God,

her letter starts.

And where it ends.

And it went

with a breath that stung her,

Why believe?

Why reach?

Why try?

let the pain fly.


You’re stronger when you weep.


And she dreamed inside her mind

that she was better

than what she’d built

and could build better,

so she walked away

and started over.

But the debt built

and the hearts of those she left behind


She’s said no.

But the scars still stung

and his beatings still won

till her soul opened up and said

Why believe?

Why reach?

Why try?

let the pain fly.


You’re stronger when you weep.


And a friend doesn’t have the words

and a mother can’t speak to the pain

‘and a daughter’s arms can barely reach

and we all cry out for the exact same thing.

Why believe,

Why reach?

Why Try?

let the pain fly.


You’re stronger when you weep.


And he was gone before I could say goodbye

a worn letter in my drawer-side,

his last words, “Never forget this could be the last,”

and my laughing into the phone

as we talked about the past

and our dysfunctional family

who we loved anyway.

If I’d had known to tell him

how he’d be eternal,

I’d have talked about the cancer.

Why believe,

Why reach?

Why Try?

let the pain fly.


You’re stronger when you weep.


Said the soldier to his children

when he held them

for the first time.

Said the mother to his son

after his divorce,

and the father to his daughter

after all she’d lost from just one choice,

said the boyfriend to her grief,

and the best friend after failing,

and the moments we regret


because we didn’t have the strength

to stop refusing.

The ache to our belief.

The hunger in our reach,

The trying

and the flying

of the grief.



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