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Beginnings, Endings and Everything In between

It was a surreal moment dropping my youngest off at college. At these important life events, I am haunted by how much I miss my recently departed parents. The ever teetering see-saw of life; the love and loss, the highs and lows, and of course the beginnings and endings. This poem encompasses it all.


Ask me about the love of a parent for her child;

The heart-stopping moment when you first meet; in a bland governmental office in the south of China, filled with screaming babies, heads shaved, in hand-me-down clothes, a cacophony of grief, fear and anticipation.

Ask me about the moment we spot her in the room, among the many who were left, furrowed brow, serious expression, wearing a blue onesie, her feet not fully in the places for them; her anguished look, with a tiny sliver of openness.

As me about holding my mother’s hand; bony but strong in a dank smelling hospital room with the hum of machines; a thin scratchy grey blanket around her too thin body, a final visit.

Ask me about the love of a child for her parent.

Ask me about the beginning, of the early days when we were just getting to know each other; my mom in Jackie Kennedy inspired clothes; elegantly carrying herself, even as she walked us to school, always willing to stop along the way when one of us noticed something; not concerned about time.

Ask me about the beginning, of the early days when we were just getting to know each other; my daughter in squeaky shoes, designed so that her whereabouts would always be known, as if I could ever not know, and her giggles, delighting us all after days of trying to get her to laugh.

Ask me how much I miss her; yearn for her; ache to hear her voice of wisdom.

Ask me how she continued living after losing a son. Then another.

Ask me how the bright existed always alongside the dark.

Ask me how I will miss my daughter now that she is gone from home; but very much alive. Where are her squeaky shoes now?

Ask me how loss, mild or massive, can cut so deep.

Ask me how to be go on.

And I will ask my mother.

Ask me how she would answer.

You are strong she would say. And loved.

Ask me about how to answer my daughter’s fears; how it will mirror my mother’s.

You are strong I say. And loved.

Ask me about the bonds of love.

About trust.

About the beginnings and endings. And everything in between.

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