February 23, 1970

Tue 02/23/16 at 4:31 pm

On this day in 1970, my Mother died at home. I was 15. Before marrying my Dad and having us 3 kids, she graduated from Luther College where she majored in social science with minors in psychology and English. She kept some of her textbooks, including a two-volume set of American Poetry and Prose underlined and annotated by her. As a future English major, I had recently claimed them as my own. I remember right after she died, I went to my room and opened the second volume to Robert Frost’s poem, “Home Burial.” I read the following passage:

The nearest friends can go
With anyone to death, comes so far short
They might as well not try to go at all.
No, from the time when one is sick to death,
One is alone, and he dies more alone.
Friends make pretense of following to the grave,
But before one is in it, their minds are turned
And making the best of their way back to life
And living people, and things they understand.
But the world’s evil. I won’t have grief so
If I can change it. Oh, I won’t, I won’t!

Home BurialBack then, in small rural communities, there wasn’t a lot of guidance for what to do when someone died – other than casseroles delivered to the family and a funeral (within 3 days but never on a Sunday) accompanied by a church basement reception consisting of “lunch meat” sandwiches on white bread slathered with butter, Jell-O salads, and weak coffee. There were no grief counselors. Kubler-Ross’s model was as yet unknown. Years later, I hit upon an expression that sums it up for me: One day we had a Mother, and the next day, we didn’t.




next post: Happy Bloomday
previous post: Happy Bloomsday

No Comments yet

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress with design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^
28 queries. 0.157 seconds.