Bittersweet

For us…

Though isolated and alone,
six daughters created
their own adventures:

Dredge ditches to explore
logs to climb, hop and traverse
quirky clubs to govern
silliness to be had
pools to swim
bikes to ride.

But they also witnessed dysfunction.
Drinking and arguments
self-centered behavior
loneliness
betrayal
isolation
occasions of violence.
The demeaning of selves.

Their young minds
could not possibly understand
the hardships of their stewards.
They saw only the injustices
perpetuated against them.
A hard thing to shake off – that.
Necessary, though. They see that now:
A duty requiring constant vigilance.

They carried with them the lessons
taught perhaps by design,
others via despair.

A mother who failed to hold and nurture her children
though her love be true.
Other pressing needs consumed her,
mindless of the continuum she unleashed
in tandem with the cold hardness
of what life had dealt her.

She did what she could.

Their human hearts
craved the joyful contentment
of family love and acceptance.

Straw hats and
matching dresses at Easter.
Season pool passes.
Colorful quilts – dozens of them.
Dr. Seuss delivered each month.
Pink cupcakes with candy hearts:
kindergarten visits.

Pillars of the Earth.

She did what she could.

Undermining her own desires
time and again
always alone, uphill battles
against the bottle, work and everyone else,
always others.

When, then, for you?

With the mellowing of age, true pleasures found.
Booze finally lost its allure.
Some tea, mummy? his gentle refrain.
Shared toast with jam on winter mornings,
watching the birds and those clever squirrels.
Travels together, a great bonding.
Gratitudes, delayed and bittersweet
but heartfelt nonetheless.

Disappointments and hurts: not quite ever undone.
Hearts nearly broken at times continue to pump
their life-giving nourishments.
We are human, after all.
And so, there IS love.

4 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. Oh this is such a true and to the heart true poem. It is often difficult to remember we all do the best we can when we can, and harder to see that same truth in others. Especially when young. Thank you. All my best to you.

    • Thank you, THANK YOU. I wrote this after a falling out with my mother and shared it with her. She was grateful and we worked through our troubles. However, my sisters said not a word about it and I was so hurt and disappointed. I appreciate your kind words and acknowledgement of something that was hard for me to write. Sigh. Family doesn’t always mean others have your back, it seems at times. 😦

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