“It Just Took a While,” she said . . .

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My latest hospice patient was full of stories. Millie started telling me stories the minute I sat down beside her. She grew up on a farm with three sisters, so there were numerous tales of chores, animals, strict parents, and of course boyfriends. The boys would come calling on her sisters, not her. She watched as her sisters dated and eventually married, but she was always more comfortable on her own. “I was sure I’d be an old maid”, she admitted, “It’s what I thought I wanted”… and then she met him.

Andy had returned from a two-year enlistment in the Navy. Back home with his parents in Pennsylvania, he felt lost and didn’t know what to do with his life. His uncle was a farmer in Kansas who needed help with the harvest, so he moved west. Andy and Millie met when they each drove truck-loads of wheat to the grain elevators in the middle of a long, hot summer.

Millie is proof that there’s always space inside us reserved for someone else and a new way of thinking. She had to adjust her heart and her mind to make room for Andy and for the family they might have someday. “It just took a while”, she said, but once she figured out love had finally come calling on HER, she changed her thinking from “me” to “us”. The life journal I wrote for Millie will be shared with 3 children, 6 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great grandchildren.

A Poem for Millie

Once

she lived inside herself

closed off to the world of affection.

Then

there was a tug at her heart

and a sense of approaching vulnerability.

She felt herself being opened somehow

and she

never found her way back to being closed.

Photo Credit:  Pinterest

Note: Names have been changed

See my other Hospice Stories Here

The Eve of Spring

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On the eve of Spring,

the earth is a dirty place!

A rowdy Fall seems to have

flung things here and there

and Winter stubbornly refused

to pick them up.

The result is a sad chaos

of decaying leaves, abandoned nests

and an impressive assortment of litter

from some drunken teenage party.

Twigs and broken branches

are strewn like tiny corpses

on the ground.

Emerging from the dead,

Spring instinctively will come

bringing with it

an elixir of cleansing rain.

Following the purge,

rejuvenation is conceived.

Every long-forgotten seed

soon starts to grow, and the

landscape will change

before our eyes.

But for now, trees bend

like little old men,

crippled by harsh winds

and the burden of snow.

From their stooped position,

they lift their weathered faces

toward the sun – as we all do,

on the eve of Spring.

 

Once There Was a Warrior

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His hut is the farthest from the fire.

It makes him feel brave and independent.

He built it out of timbers, straw and stone

with sticks for a door to impede intruders.

His people are hunters and gatherers,

reliant on wild game and edible plants.

His hunt takes him deep into the wilderness

where adventure stirs his spirit and enriches his soul.

Though he’s content to share the air with all living things,

he realizes sacrifices must be made.

When day is done, he brings his bounty to the fire

which burns in a circular pit lined with stone.

The aroma of roasting meat fills the air

and beckons those in their hut to share his food.

In praise, their gratitude becomes a song

composed and chanted in rhythm with the wind.

The fire that moments ago was a tool for cooking,

now bears a mocking resemblance to the sun

providing warmth and brightness to the night.

Around a smoky campfire the stories begin

bouncing back and forth across the flames.

Like kindling, words spark imagination.

Truths lead to legends and myths are born of lies.

Tall tales come to a halt when the embers die

and people wander quietly to their home.

His hut may be the farthest from the fire,

but stories fill his dreams and he is never cold.

Poem prompted by photo taken at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. The hut is a replica of one lived in 4,500 years ago by those who built Stonehenge.

Three Sisters

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When Faith and Joy left home

Hope was lost without them.

“Please come home”, she cried

“I can’t live without you!”

…so they did

and Hope survived.

Poem inspired by photo taken in Waterford, Ireland

Gone Astray . . .

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in a world of anonymous strangers

we surrender to the trendy lure

of being something we’re not

hoping integrity won’t seize our soul

and ruin our imperfect happiness

while blindly we sleepwalk like mindless zombies

crashing into this, tripping over that,

unable to rid ourselves of the

monotone voices that urge us

to touch, but not to feel,

to look, but not to see

our faceless selves

all going nowhere,

seeking nothing

We, as humans, are a mystery to me sometimes – for Ragtag Daily Prompt: Mystery 

Packing up Christmas/Foto Friday #23

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After weeks filled with hectic preparation

sadly, another Christmas has come and gone.

Anticipation of festive joy was riding high

as a propensity for Christmas magic

was all it took to keep my hope and dreams alive.

Now the holiday is over and the magic is gone –

packed away in plastic containers

amid shiny baubles and strings of lights.

Hope has become just hope again

and dreams have become just dreams

… until next year

when the magic is unpacked.

Tracks in the Snow

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A poem for my grandchildren:

This morning from my window I saw tracks in the snow.

“Look!” I said to Momma, “Can we see where they go?”

“It’s cold outside!” she answered, “Are you sure you want to do that?”

“Oh, I do!” I said to Momma, “I’ll go get my coat and hat!”

So, I ran to the closet where we keep our winter clothes.

I pulled out boots and mittens plus a scarf to shield my nose.

With Momma bundled up like me, we stepped outside together.

So warmly we had dressed ourselves we didn’t mind the weather.

Tracks led us to the river, then up the rocky ridge,

through the brush and bramble and over the narrow bridge.

We heard a sound then turned to see a fawn and graceful doe

huddled close together under branches hanging low.

The baby deer lay on the ground curled up fast asleep

on a simple bed of crusty leaves where the snow was not as deep.

The doe leaped to attention watching every move we made,

but we were nice and quiet, so she wouldn’t be afraid.

I looked into her big brown eyes and softly said “Hello!”

“So, you’re the ones who left behind the tracks in the snow.”

As Momma took me by the hand, we slowly backed away

from the handsome gentle creatures who had surely made my day.

Across the bridge and through the brush, then up to the plateau,

we paused for just a moment to enjoy the view below.

So brightly the sun glistened that each snowflake was a jewel,

just like glitter on a picture that I had made at school.

Back home I shed my coat and hat. Somewhere I’d lost a mitten.

“Hot chocolate?” Momma asked me as she headed for the kitchen.

“Thanks”, I said to Momma when she handed me a cup.

It tasted great, but really, it’s her smile that warmed me up!

I sat down by the window just as I had done that morning

with thoughts of all we’d seen and done while we were out exploring.

I gazed down to the path where we had been not long ago.

“Look!” I said to Momma, “we made tracks in the snow!”

 

Always find joy in the little things, my dears!

with love,

Grammy

RDP: Bridge

Nancy Merrill Post a Day: The Things That Matter Most