Source: Marriage Equality
Something kind of wonderful happened this morning. I was waiting for my friend, Teresa, at the Fred Meyer eating area – Teresa was going to help me figure out what I needed to buy for the memorial celebration today – and this little family came in and sat down next to me – Mom with a baby, her daughter who’d just turned eight, other family members – and I started chatting with them – really neat people.
Pretty soon this man came in with a backpack and all kinds of bags hanging out of his pockets and out of his pack. I saw him trying to organize all his bags and was kind of intrigued by him.
Then Teresa comes in – and brings all that wonderful energy with her – and I introduce her to my new friends sitting next to me. They start chatting, and I leave them to go talk to the man with all the bags. I ask him if I can buy him a coffee at the Starbucks – and he asks me if I could maybe buy him a couple gift cards so he can buy food later. So I find the gift card rack and he picks out a Kroger’s card for food, and a Starbucks card, and I go back to the cashier to buy it for him, and also to buy some drinks for Teresa and me. (Teresa doesn’t want me to buy her anything, until my new friend tells her that I’m the boss today, and she has to do what I say.)
So we all get our drinks – the backpack man thanks me for the cards – he said he’d been having a really negative attitude about people up until then, and I’m making him feel better about life. Teresa turns to him and says, “Do you want to know why she bought you those cards today? Her mom died and today is the celebration for her mom, and she’s buying you those cards in honor of her mom who was the most loving person in the world.” And as Teresa tells him this, I realize that it’s true. Moz taught me to watch out for people, and to do what I could to help. And the idea of that brings sweet tears to my eyes.
So the man thanks me and we part ways, and Teresa and I go back to our table, and my new friend, Ella, thanks me for taking care of the man with the backpack. Just the fact that she noticed the exchange with the backpack-man really touches my heart.
And THEN we find out we are both of the same political persuasion. And now I have a new FB friend. ❤
Moz’s celebration was wonderful. There was music and laughter and more music and laughter and sweet friendship. I brought her shoes to the celebration and put them in the front with all the flowers. It made me smile to see them up there…
Mourning Mom, grieving with Dad,
responsible for another person’s
health and finances and life,
and a target for gossip and fabrication
by a pillar of my community –
I am battle-weary and sick –
at maybe the lowest point in my life.
And I’m thinking that maybe
I could just slide down deep into
sickness, slip into sleep forever, fade
out and die, and that wouldn’t be so bad.
And from some somewhere there comes
a moment of clarity – a question
at the crossroads: You can consent
to death, or decide to live.
It’s your choice.
Life won’t always be fun and easy.
Choosing life will mean complications,
responsibilities, and battles. It will mean
a commitment. It will take some courage.
That path is not going to be all rainbows
and butterflies and starry nights.
And I nod my head. I understand
what I’m taking on if I choose life.
I will encounter mean people. I will
have to balance checking accounts. I will
have to deal with grief and mourning
and loss and heartache and pain and lies
and disappointment and failure. But there are
people depending on me to choose life.
I am needed here. And there are people
that I need, too. And people here I love.
And sometimes there will be rainbows. And
butterflies. And starry nights.
And so I choose life.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
Found a couple more poems Moz poems that I’d like to share.
Here’s one she wrote for my dad on their 27th anniversary:
Happy anniversary, Dee, my pet –
27 years and we aren’t through, yet.
We’ve shared tears, triumphs, ups and downs.
Sometimes we’re heroes, sometimes clowns.
But always caring for each other
Living as one, yet trying not to smother.
Our individuality, blending instead
to make a family, a home, truly wed.
Love and kisses,
Moz, Mozzy, Colleen
And this one – from Moz and Dad’s Christmas letter, 1974:
I always bite off
more’n I can chew.
I know it sounds corny,
but, honest, it’s true.
The school here, the chuirch there,
the errands to run.
The kids’ things; they’re everywhere.
Sometimes it’s not fun.
The dogs, cats, cows, ducklings,
keep us hopping like mad.
If you don’t hop just right,
things really get bad.
Like rounding them up
in a deluge of rain,
then slipping in poopoos,
it could drive you insane.
Well, say now! It’s Christmas!
I’ll strike a good chord,
Let petty things vanish,
and put up the sword.
Things never were better,
to that I’ll avow.
Got a gall off at college
learning “why, where, and how.”
The boys are still growing
and marching in bands
They like to go skiing
at good “Crystal Land.”
Dee’s painting and painting
mixin’ the right hue.
His new maps are progressing
and his hours are too.
I’m singing at weddings
and sometimes at church.
I hope to plant dogwoods
and maybe a birch.
Dear friends, everywhere,
I’m thinking of you.
So please don’t be mad
at my letters so few.
Seasons greeting to all
and to all a Good New Year.
Love, Peace, Joy, and Power
to all of you dear.
– Colleen Molenaar
My mom passed away a couple weeks ago and yesterday morning I rummaged through some of the boxes that we moved out of her and Dad’s apartment, looking for old photos and mementos that might be meaningful for my sons, brothers, niece and nephew – who were all going to join us in the afternoon for a visit with my dad. And in my rummaging I came upon a treasure! A folder full of poems that Moz had written – including a poem for each of her grandchildren! We had no idea that Moz wrote poetry in her free time! Who knew?!
The poems she wrote for her grandchildren belong to them – and it’s not my place to share them with the world – but I thought I might share a couple of Moz’s other offerings. Behold, Moz’s poetry:
Poem for a Tiny Bird
A tiny little birdie,
I think a chickadee,
was hanging on a swaying branch
and looking right at me.
His eyes were bright, his movements
quick – he didn’t miss a seed
as he pecked
away at the birch tree tassle
to satisfy his need.
We watched each other for
and then as if by command
he twittered “good bye” and flew away
I knew I’d seen something grand.
– Colleen Molenaar
Bootsie, oh, Bootsie
the masked-face cat,
So sleek and pretty, with
a nose sort of flat
She lives in an apartment
though she’d rather roam
Her world is much smaller, yet
there’s no place like home
She loves to eat jelly
right off the bread
And dried powdered cream
really goes to her head
She sits on her deck
over-looking the court,
watching kiddies and kittens
and creatures of sort
Bootsie, oh, Bootsie
I’ll come back one day
You’ll greet me with love,
because that’s your way.
Update on Dad:
I stopped in to see Dad this morning and he asked how Mom was. (Yesterday he’d asked if she was back east. He’d said he hoped she didn’t think he’d abandoned her.) I told him fine. He looked at me, skeptically, and said, “It feels like people aren’t giving me a straight answer to this question.” He is very sharp. At that point it was impossible to lie to him, so I got close to his ear and told him Mom had passed. He asked me what I’d said. I told him I loved him and hugged him and left.
I came back later with a new pair of pants for him. Mary from The Mountaineers was there and Dad was busy at the dining room table drawing a picture of Rainier on some watercolor paper she’d brought him. He asked how Mom was. I told him fine. I asked him how he was and he said he’d be happier if he knew how Mom was. I asked him if he’d like me to write him a note about Mom and he nodded his head yes. I wrote something like this:
“Daddy, Mom passed on peacefully in her sleep at my house last week. She loved you very much. She still loves you. She knows you love her, too. We all love you, Daddy. You’re not alone. We’re all here for you.”
He asked how “the boys” were doing. I said the boys were doing fine and wanted him to be happy.
I wrote to him that he had been able to see Mom before they brought her to my house. I told him an attendant had wheeled him up to Mom’s room so he could say good-bye. The attendant said it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
Mary and I were hugging him and he was holding my hand. I found a paper napkin and dabbed tears off the end of his nose. He asked if Mom had died in pain, and I said no, she’d died peacefully at my house. I’d been sleeping next to her. He wanted to know what she’d died of, and I told him her heart had gotten tired and stopped.
I told him about the memorial celebration for her, and he nodded his head that he wanted to come.
I asked him what I could do to help, what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to go to bed. So Mary and I helped him get back to his room. He told me he loved me before I left.
I think he might ask again – and I think we’re going to have to continue to be truthful with him, and help him get through this. He won’t let us not tell him the truth. He is very brave.