Her Last Word Was “Okay”

Her whole face was beaming
and she smiled up at me with joy.
She had that look that you get
when you’re anticipating a party
with old friends.
Her last word to me was “Okay.”
Said without reservation or reluctance.
I didn’t understand at the time. Didn’t
know that would be her last word.
I’d just told her Scott would watch over her
for the next few hours, and then I’d be back
down to be with her through the night. I’d
just told her she wasn’t going to be alone –
that we’d take care of her. And her eyes
were filled with joy and love. “Okay,” she said,
with that smiling joy. And then I went to sleep
for a couple hours. When I came back down
she was sleeping on her hospital bed,
and I laid down on the couch next to her. I
got up at 12:48 to give her the medication.
Then again an hour later. (I wrote the times
on a napkin so I wouldn’t forget.) I woke up
again an hour later after a waking dream filled
with joy and peace and the brush of angel wings.
There was no struggling now. It took me a while
to realize she was gone.
But her last word to me was, “Okay.”
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Cattle Drive

A truck was ahead of me on I-5
“Cattle Drive” written on its backside
Holes punched out on the side
to let in air and light to the four-legged
occupants hurtling through time
and space to their destiny.
As I passed I glanced through
a glass-less window and saw a bovine
leg shifting its weight – skin and fur
and muscle of a living being moving
inside the metal crate and I wanted
to acknowledge its life, wanted to reach
out and touch the leg and ask forgiveness
for humanity.

Vegetarianism calls.

– -Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Feeling of Tenderness

A soft gentleness settled in her heart
a tenderness and sweet acceptance
of the whole of life
Sadness, grief and mourning
transformed into something bigger
brighter, more beautiful and her joy
became deeper, richer, and filled
with meaning. There was no word
for what she felt then – neither “sorrow”
nor “bliss” – this feeling blurred
the boundaries, broke down
the lines between one thing
and the other, did away with judgment
of “feeling good” and “feeling bad”
and what was in her heart was just
that –
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
– William Shakespeare


Throughout the Day

Throughout the day we told each other
of our love. And I’ll always remember
those words. But the most profound
moment didn’t come with a word at all.
It was the expression in her eyes
when she didn’t have the strength
to speak. I asked her one more time
– because I was greedy that last day –
“You love me, don’t you?”
And for a moment everything else
blurred into the background, but
the love in her eyes – focused on mine,
pure and powerful and true.
And now in my moments of doubt
the look in her eyes comes back to me,
and I feel her mother-love still with me.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Pretending Death

I lay in bed, pretending to be dead,
not playing dead, but imagining dead.
Eyes closed. Breathing stopped. Mind blank.
Body stilled.
Is this what it feels like? I wondered.
And I wasn’t being melancholy
or morose or macabre.
I wasn’t wishing myself dead
I was just curious.
Is death just an eternal nothing?
And if it is, I reasoned, then
our time here is so short – so much to do,
so many to love, and so little time.
And the idea of that – so little time
to love – made no sense
to me.  How could Love ever end?
And I opened my eyes. Took a deep breath.
Got back to living.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

I Can Choose My Thoughts

I can think any thoughts I want
as I wake from my sleep –
I have freedom
to stand on mountain tops,
splash barefoot through streams,
soar over tree tops, dance
through the stars, travel
through time to see again
the faces of loved ones now gone
I can fill my heart with my favorite songs
fill my thoughts with love
fill the beginning of my newborn
day with hope and an expectancy
of Good.
And why wouldn’t I?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Thuggery, Thaggery, Thiggery Thoo

Thuggery, thaggery, thiggery thoo
United unites us – the me and the you
Trumpery, trimpery, trippery trap
our corporate politicians are waking us
up from our nap
People-power, priorities pivot,
praise for kindness, boycott the bigot
Words are fine, speeches are cool,
but it’s time now to live it,
time now to pool
our resources of wisdom, talent, and heart.
time to stand up and do our part.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell