I wrote, “I remember,” then listened as the rest unfolded

I remember her coming in the front door, a full bag of groceries in each arm. Not the plastic kind that hang off your wrist and leave a long red dent in your skin. No, they hadn’t been invented yet. She carried the big paper sacks, celery and carrots sticking out of the top. It must have been after a long day at work. I was at home, waiting, and as I heard the key turn in the lock, a quick plan formed. Door opened and before she had a chance to make her way down the two steps into our basement apartment…


“OH!!!” This exclaimed in a quick, high pitch.

“Heidi! I wish you wouldn’t do that.”

This memory doesn’t paint me in the best light, but it is the memory that came to the blank page. I wasn’t yet ten, and may have only been seven or eight. Old enough to know better, not quite old enough to care or realize it really was inconsiderate. I’m pretty sure I was more careful from then on, faintly aware of the danger of being startled at the top of the stairs. To be honest, I was aware of the danger to the groceries. Years would pass before it occurred to me my mom could have fallen.

I’ve begun cleaning out her bedroom, her kitchen, her house, the one we sort of share with my dad now. It’s his house really and we, the nomadic family, claim my mom’s room and shared use of the house when we’re in town, knowing it is my dad’s domain and nest, or will be once we clear her belongings, at least some of them, and remove my mom’s purple robe from the back of the bathroom door.

Or maybe we will never move it, and each time we close the door, it’s purpleness will sway just a bit and remind us of the great love story that is her life, remind us of her enthusiastic, busy spirit, remind us of her eyes and smile, and the way she tackled every day like a child eager to discover what other cool stuff can be found and done in the world. Only she was really a warrior, fighting to teach the world about love and light in its many manifestations, and to please treat each other as the shining gems we are.

So that’s the message. You’re a gem, or really many gems, some hidden, some needing to be polished, some shining bright and lighting up the lives of your loved ones. But you are not your faults or the negative total of what you have not done but meant to. You are only the light.

Thank you mom.


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Day 4: Morning thoughts, half thoughts, something

I didn’t write yesterday or the day before because everyone is getting older and we all talk in complete sentences. That’s what I tell myself, but really I was too shy to try, to give the insights, memories, current observations I may have found wandering among my thoughts. I glanced briefly into the mental matter before deciding it would be better to make another cup of coffee, put the clean laundry away, write a grocery list and stare out the dining room window at an emptying campgrounds.

We’re leaving the cold Midwest soon too, later this month or the first of December. Until then I’ve got a few things to get done. Like making a physical copy of the cookbook and getting it on the shelf at one or more local health food stores, paying the funeral home, retrieving our drums and guitar from David’s mom’s house, finding a foster parent for the plant my mom’s department gave us when she passed, and other matters here and there. Goodyear Arizona (our winter digs) is full of snowbirds. The ever-warm land of grandparents and swimming pools that stay open year round.

It’s all mundane at 3pm. The couch is covered in extra bits, some not intended to stay, others needing to be put away. When I do inhale the notion to bring what is deeper to the page my insides go quiet and say not just yet. I listen respectfully, aware that memories of my mother live there, hopes for my family, and a full canvas of present beauty I am observing rather than recording. But then… poetry gives me both, observation and the kind gift of reliving a moment even as it unfolds.



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30 Days of morning thoughts, day 1

When he got dressed this morning it became clear that Devyn needs new clothes, again. We’ve hit that point. For years, he could wear the same shirts for two or three years. My children grow as I did, steady and slow, and both are slim and on the short side of average. However, I’m becoming aware that very soon, Devyn will likely be taller than his mother who stands at a towering 5ft 3 ¾ inches. He catches me staring at him more and more often. His response is to open his eyes real wide, smile, and tilt his face up just a bit. Kid, you have no idea how much I love you.

Matthew still fits neatly on my lap and will perch there as often as I let him. But he is getting too heavy for lengthy snuggles in this manner. Each repeated season reveals inevitable changes that must come about with the passage of time. Last fall the three of us fit comfortably on the dining-table-converted-into-a-bed, which for some reason we preferred to the queen bed a few feet away. My guess is (strange that I don’t remember for sure) that after we took David to work, when I would make a nest on that “bed” by the front window so I could look out at autumn sunrise and write, the boys decided it was the place to be, both for warmth and the comfort that is being close to mommy.

I miss my mommy. I’m sure this explains my near-silence as far as writing new poems and pieces. Deep down I know that written words will eventually lead me to the reality that I cannot curl up at her side, or hear her voice, how my my heart aches, how easily tears form and fall in great drops off of my eyelashes when I remember. Like now. Like last night. Layers of acceptance form gradually, and I am broken open, gentler. My mom can see my heart now, and she is loving and helping me in a way I have never experienced. This is the gift really, this softening, waking up and being present for my life as mother, wife, spiritual being walking a material path, this feat I have longed for but didn’t know how to manage.


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Her Answer



I have held her after midnight while soft music rocks us back in time to the hiding places, the quiet spaces, the hours in contemplation and the cradle of no-mind as she creates word designs and curving colors formed into patterns, the numb years of twenty-something and the wide-awake, young-girl aching for a thing she could not define but resembled safety for her breaking heart. We’ve shared tears and a knowing, and from the future-now, I have given her permission to feel every emotion (once inaccessible to her) that is born of being wounded as we were.

Now she is waiting for me to hear her. She reminds me of what I knew before it hurt, that creating joy is the best thing and not choosing it is a form of insanity. I am gifted with replays that remind me how frustrated I felt at eight, nine, ten, not knowing why the grownups were holding back, turning their attention away from what would bring them and us delight, holding so tight to worry that it became the only thing, the steering wheel, a tension like a living being hovering from every corner.

She is waiting for me to see that I have done the work and while my inner child may yet need another hug, more loving attention, healing even, she is mending and hopeful and that she is me, ready to live our truth, ready to be the grownup who consistently chooses joy, presence, serenity, the mother who says yes more than maybe tomorrow, who dances in the living room with her jubilant offspring and listens to their tales no matter how confusing the narrative, a soul having an uplifting spiritual experience in the here and now.

I see her looking back at me, a light in her eyes, hand outstretched, ready to walk with me as we step into the beautiful unknown, a life lived with love (and not avoiding fear and discomfort) as our steering wheel. I reach out for her, grateful for a trusted guide.

I’ve been meditating on this question for days. The answer is, so far, longer than I am able to pen, and will grow as days pass, but I wanted to share the question and some of what has come through the years in reply.

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warming up after weeks of silence

I came here to write. I said that’s what I was going to do, for the first time in weeks. I would sit alone at the spot (a cafe, small wooden table, the shuffle of casual doing all around, passing by, speaking in soft voices) holding still for long enough for words to wend their way from the hidden corners to the open page.

Then when I sit, ready to relax, to firmly set other matters aside, it’s all business in my head. What to mail when, a haze of details I can’t reach, the ones ahead in the illusion I cling to, this time with its incessant whisper, pulling me brain and body out of the present, away from my life as it is.

It is (and I know this when I have successfully failed to worry) an upbeat, love-filled harmony with occasional scratches and a few questions that cannot, at this moment, be answered. I set the unanswered and not-yet-done aside in favor of what I witness (it is a way into right now): the pat-pat-pat of mall walkers, the diamond criss-cross of white tile, my breath in and out, the silence in between and R. Carlos Nakai’s gift playing on turquoise earbuds.

I even have chocolate. A small gold-wrapped Honey Mint, perfectly formed. I will eat it in tiny bites.

And as I go along being quiet, listening, I will be brought to gentle tears by a sense of the pulse and beauty of what I cannot see, the wave of Love holding it All together.

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first graveside visit alone – there is no real separation

I visited her grave yesterday, a brown rectangular mound, stoneless and new. She was in the damp, cooling wind and the sway of the old tree’s leaves, the gathering dusk and blanket of clouds moving north above my head. Just as we parked, alone in the small cemetery, the rain began, a few small drops, a few more. My younger son walked with me to her place, space, her body’s home, then he turned and ran back to the truck on tiptoes, letting out an exuberant yelp through the early-evening grey.

Alone now, glasses and phone aside, legs crossed, I looked all around, at the Children’s Garden across the road, the forest beyond it, the old tree my father loves, countless cloth flowers beside names of the departed, and the traveling sky, a thousand-and-more cotton balls laced together with a soft light barely glowing through.

I laid back, legs straight, arms stretched at either side, whole body in the wet grass. Cool rain waking my face, hands, neck, I was a receiver, a song in my heart beside the gentle rocking of my chest as grief and hope, a prayer and a listening fell into the grass with my tears, rose on the wind and sank deep into my soul.

I miss you hung on everything I could see and hear, I love you wove through the timeless expanse that held me suspended between the senses and the solely-spirit.

She gave me a clear message, one I will keep close just now.

Gathered too, with the falling rain and my mom (closer than a breath), were Aunt Alma, Dianna, Suzy, Grandma, Jessa, all offering assurance and love, promising assistance and that I have been carried by them all at times (this I know so well).

“Pray for them as they pray for you.” Indeed, this is true love.







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shadow gift

shadow gift


I can’t quite pen the autumn-turning trees
the hawk that called
as it sailed above my head.

Tears filled my eyes at the glory of it all,
the gentle work of my heart,
from looking back and forth in time
to holding the present the way I might hold
an etched and hollow robin’s egg,

I can’t write damp rocks from morning rain
that woke me in the dark, making up the path
I walked upon this day of gentle wind and
sunshine peeks through a hovering, billowy grey.

I give this, a shadow of the blessed gift.

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Broken open she says, I see you.

These tears run quiet and again
I am nowhere,
waiting for the knowing to bloom,
an ornament in my hands

in the doing that must finally come to pass,
a matter I have shelved for days beyond here,
an hour easily put off forever she warns.

If I wait, time begins to sag
beneath the burden of idleness.
If I leap, if I grow faith-wings, if

But my heart aches with each step forward.
How can I carry this gift into creation?
I nearly crumble into a million shards of doubt.

It is that you must give she says
the song made for your voice alone.

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alone and listening perhaps

Where are the words,
the ones I can often reach out
and pull close enough to inhale
and breathe out of my finger tips?


At a place in being,
from which my heart gives up her truth,
a way away from the dizziness of dailiness,
a place that is dailiness beneath the cloak
of what appears to be mundane,

until I have occasion to look back
and perceive the intricate designs
a Master Hand has fashioned through my life.

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a manner of loving

Soft wind kisses, an unseen bird calls glory-chirp-glory-sweet-day,
more tears well up beneath hazel rings.

I’m ready to be alone long enough to settle back in
to my skin after the long days
soulful songs, a parting with familiar.
(this quiet breath of poetry beneath an open sky
can be the first solitude)

I pray and strive to plant beauty
in the fertile soil of furrowed ground,

in the wake of all that has been since autumn

yet loving now with no illusions of distance,
soul to soul.

I will ache and cry a gentle spell each day,
knowing time will only glide forward.

I raise one arm to heaven and begin
to dance with the abundant beauty that is still my life,
for you have taught me there is no better way.

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