On loss, love, and the circle of life

A post from DH:

Last week in Delaware, I held my mom’s hand as she died following a long and courageous battle against cancer.

This week in Pittsburgh, I held my wife’s hand as she gave birth to our first child – a boy – whose middle name honors a grandmother who couldn’t wait to meet him.

In the interim, plenty of time to reflect on loss, love, the circle of life, and what it takes to be an incredible parent, which my mom achieved above all else. At the memorial service in her honor, we read a poem I wrote more than five years ago – before her battle began – about my experiences growing up. As I become a parent myself, as I mourn the loss of my mother at age 63, this poem from the past provides a bit of hope for the future.

I believe everyone might benefit from its message...

Duck ... Duck ...

Like ducks in a pond, swimming next to each other,

We were rarely apart, me and my younger brother.

Raised on 40 great acres, we knew each one quite well,

Fully two miles out, we’d hear mom’s dinner bell.

See that net by the pipe? That was used to catch tadpoles.

We’d kick goals and dig holes; conjoined souls with no soles.

We missed out on fine grooming; wore no shirts and no shoes,

But we lived a young life no good boy could refuse.

See that three-wheeler parked by the brown basement door?

We began driving that by the ripe age of four.

It’s not that our mother and father neglected,

It’s more like a parenting style perfected.

They gave us good training, on how not to get dead,

Then set us both free, with some rules, and some bread.

The bread we then fed to the ducks in the pond,

The rules we then bent, but upheld, as our brotherly bond.

Never ever go out past the end of the lane,

Always come home for dinner, if you have half a brain.

You should aim for improvement – it goes Good, Better, Best.

And when seated for dinner, you must always be dressed.

When you’re roving the woods, act as friends and don’t fight,

When you’re roving the world, always do what is right.

Retain what you learned as great back woods explorers,

And keep goodness in mind as you face some of life’s horrors.

Like these ducks you will know, when it’s your time to fly,

You’ll look back on these woods, as you take to the sky.

But please try to come home, every once in a while,

Where your mom will be waiting, with that all-knowing smile.


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