A Little Poetry

I don’t often write poetry, but there are times when it just seems appropriate. Losing my mother was one of those times. Below are two poems, one I composed to be read at the cemetery, and one composed by Andy’s girlfriend, Taya. Taya is truly talented; she also wrote poems for our daughters’ weddings. To give some context to the conclusion of Taya’s poem, our father, a pianist and organist, died suddenly in 1974. I just know it was a beautiful reunion!

I hadn’t yet shared these publicly, but I’ve been missing my mom a lot, and this is one small way I can continue to honor her memory.

Saying Goodbye…

How do we begin to say goodbye?
We know that you were tired, ready to go home.
We saw the weariness in your eyes.
We believe your journey here was complete,
But how do we say goodbye?

There is so much we will miss, Mom. Your quick wit.
Your dry sense of humor. Your eyerolls.
You didn’t teach us to cook or to garden,
but you taught us to work hard and to take care of ourselves,
But how do we say goodbye?

We wish for you peace in your next life.
We wish for you to feel enveloped in love.
We hope you have a grand reunion with
All of those who went before you.
But how do we say goodbye?

Thank you, Mom, for the laughter.
Thank you for picking yourself up and
Raising us, when you became a widow far too soon.
Thank you for never giving up on the life you desired.
Thank you for showing us how to fight a disease with grace,
and for showing us it’s okay to say we are tired.
Still, how do we say goodbye?

As we lay you to your final resting place beside our father,
It isn’t goodbye we say.
Instead, we say we love you; we honor you; and we
Are so proud of you.
We will see you again someday,
So there’s no need to say goodbye. ~Joyce


If resiliency were a person, she would be a small woman with quick wit and a short temper. She would teach us that leading a life of simplicity is a life of value,
That one need not pack every day with new endeavors, but that instead, to simply exist in peace is enough.

To remember the things us busy people forget about is to experience a life of joy –
Birds singing outside the window,
Rays of sun casting light on picture frames full of memories,
Existing for a short while in a long book,
Walking in the neighborhood to see that children are still playing outside,
Not turning on gospel music for the sound – but to truly listen.
To slow down is to understand that life only needs to be lived and enjoyed –
That God created each of us to experience our existence through a lens of our own.

And if we look through that lens and find that we should eat just a few more M&Ms before bed, that’s okay.

We are all fortunate to have loved and been loved by Rita, or “Memaw” as she was well-known.
If we’ve learned anything from her life, it is love.
We should hug for just a little longer,
Share stories more often,
Never hold back “I love yous.”
We were shown by her that love is found in all the small places:
A smile from across the room,
A hand squeeze,
A game of Sorry you’d never win,
The side-eye glare that we all know so well,
A t-shirt worn proudly in support of her granddaughter’s business,
A great-granddaughter’s name written in shaky cursive, to be remembered always,

And most of all: that death is not an end.
For Rita, it was the joyous reunion of a true love cut too short.
On New Year’s Day, a piano played in Heaven for the first time since 1974 and she danced her way home.


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