Ode to My Daughter Janine

Image
Family Gathering to Honor Janine
 
Our family and friends gather
In celebration and grief.
 
A time to cry and morn
Sharing the grief and pain
 
A time to say “Good-bye”
Remembering special moments.
 
A time to cherish
Each others precious memories.
 
Our family gathers
In reluctance and prayers.
 
A time to joyously
Share the family stories of a life shared.
 
A time to laugh and chuckle
One last time remembering together.
 
A time of healing
A sacred moment of sealing our memories.
 
A time well spent
A final honor of a life shared.
 
Janine, my darling daughter.
I give you my blessing one last time
 
May our loved ones who have passed over
Greet you with open arms.
 
May your struggles be replaced
With the joy of singing in THE CHOIR.
 
May you watch and guide
Family and friends to avoid pitfalls.
 
I send my love
Sealed within my heart.
 
May God Bless and Keep you in his arms forevermore.
My dearest Janine.

I Am Going Home

A New Beginning!

A New Beginning!

I Am Going Home
Oh Heavenly Father,
Come for me today.
To be home for Christmas.

The earthly toils and tribulations
Have worn my body and spirit down
Come Holy Spirit.

Our long, long suffering is
Torturing the innocents
Surrounding and supporting us.

My body and mind
Yearn for the loving
And peaceful joy
Of being in your presence.

This is the season of Advent
A time of expecting
A time of preparing.

I am prepared.
We are prepared,
Now is my Advent season

I await the miracle
Of my new birth
My new beginning

Free of suffering
Singing with your angels
The glorious songs of old.

Announcing the arrival
Of The Child
And of the new arrivals.

Come Holy Spirit
I await your pleasure
Impatiently, I await

Come Holy Spirit.
Take me home.

Originally written: December 18, 2012

This was written for my cousin, Bill Mehringer, at the request
of his wife Deb. Bill is in hospice as this poem was written.
We love and support Bill and Deb in this long struggle. Bill
got his miracle just a couple hours after Deb read this poem
to him. Bill’s wait is over and he has his beautiful wings.

Embroidery of Life

A pink Rhodochrosite caboshon wirewrapped and dedicated to the memory of Auntie Rose Emmons

We were at a celebration of a long time friend who was retiring after 37 years.
We were in San Jose, CA at the Bella Mia Italian Restaurant. There were just
six of us. Steve and his wife Sue, Monica and Bret, and ZoAnn and I. Steve,
Monica, and ZoAnn taught third grade together in Morgan Hill Unified School
District for many years. They had formed a strong bond of fellowship and
friendship during those critical times. It was one of those special moments in
life when people share their memories with treasured stories of those “Camelot
Moments” in life.

One of the stories was a big surprise. Steve passed around to each of us a
sheet of paper with a story I had shared years before. It was a story from
my Aunt Rose Emmons. The following is the story Steve called Embroidery
of Life.

When I was little, my mother used to sew a great deal. I would sit at
her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She
informed me that she was embroidering. As from the underside I watched
her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her
hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.

She would smile at me, lookd down and gently say, ” Child you go about
your playing for a while, and when I am finished with my embroidering
I will put you on my knee and let you see the front side.”

I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with some
bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few
moments would pass and then I would hear Mother’s voice say, “Child,
come and sit on my knee.”

This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower, or a
sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy.
Then my Mother would say to me, ” My child, from underneath it did look
messy and jumbled, but you did not realize there was a plan on the top.
It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side, and
you will see what I was doing.

Many times through the years I have looked up to heaven and said,
“Father, what are You doing?” He has answered, “I am embroidering
your life.” I say, “But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The
threads seem so dark. Why can’t they all be bright?” The father seems to
tell me, “My child, you go about your business of doing MY business, and
one day I will bring you to heaven and put you on my knee and you will see
the plan from My side.”

It is strange how a story of my Aunt Rose Emmons came back to me from a
dear friend at his retirement celebration. Steve had remembered the story
and typed it up to be shared with us many years later. I was amazed and
very proud of my Aunt. The story has taken on a life of it’s own.

A subtext to this story is that I have seen my Grandmother Mary Brinkman
crochet and embroider using the same hoops mentioned in the story. I have
fond memories of being in the small living room of the little duplex on 5th and
Pearce in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Grandmother sitting and crocheting. I
remember the clicketedy click tickedy tick of her needles and of her quiet
ways. I still have her treasured wedding gift of embroidered pillows
received 50 years ago on June 2, 1962.

Auntie Rose sent this story to me many years ago in an email. I thought it
was one of her personal experience. However, the story can be found in many
places on the web. I have found that the story is a common one. Here is one
link to the story elsewhere:
http://www.turnbacktogod.com/story-gods-embroidery/

It does not take away from the reality of it in our family. Grandmother Mary
Brinkman did embroidery and crocheting. The pillows I have are real. The
memories of the house in Milwaukee are also true.

A Passion for Living

A rose the symbol of love and passion

A rose the symbol of love and passion

To live is to love.
Ah, the passion of living.
Each moment precious.
Each day and year collecting

The good, the bad and
Even the ugly part of life.
Each experience precious
Even priceless.

My collection growing
As my hair is greying.
My appreciation of life’s variety
Expands until it Is boundless.

Originally written: January 11, 2004

I sat across from a friend and listened to the stories he was telling about his life. The stories reflected growing up in an envronment of anger and hate. Later, I was reminiscing on the conversation and how different my life was. I grew up in a poor family wearing hand-me-downs and shoes purchased from Goodwill stores. I admit there were days we hated our unreasonable father.

My sister was the only sibling that remained home to finish high school. All four boys got their high school diplomas later and several went on to college. I came the closest to staying at home until I finished high school. I left two weeks before graduation and went into the military receiving my diploma in the mail. As we grew into teenagers each of us began to have
an increasing number of conflicts with our father.

Yet, I must say we were privileged to grow up in that environment. We can face any challenge and know how to survive even thrive. Each experience we have had whether it was good, bad, or ugly enriched us. As I have grown in age, wisdom has provided a view of past happenings that has morphed from distaste to appreciation. In discussions with my brothers we discovered each of us has confidence in our abilities instilled by having been through difficult times.

I would even go so far as say each brother has a passion for living.

Caught in the Act

To observe the instant a child learns is a miracle.


I am amazed,
And in awe.

To see a baby,
Or a young child

Caught in the act,
Of seeing something for the first time.

The arms, legs
of constant motion stops.

The eyes open wide
Seem to be absorbing.

It is as if I can see
The child’s mind learning.

It is a wondrous sight,
A treasured moment.

Originally written: January 11, 2004

I saw a baby in a stroller see a robin sitting on a branch for the first time. I was totally captivated by the baby staring at the bird. For it’s part the robin chirped and chirped calling for a mate. The child stopped all motion and just looked at the bird. I could see her eyes widen and focus on the bird. It was absorbing and the thought came to mind was the baby was learning. I was elated to have watched the child see the robin red breast for the first time.

We Fight On!

Reap the day,
The harvest

They fall,
We relish.

The winter may be hard,
Maybe soft.

Either way
We fight on!

Originally written: Thursday, November 27, 2003

Autumn is a time of gathering the crops in, cooking, smoking, and preserving the food in any way possible for use in the winter. We had a cold cellar for potatoes, carrots, onions, and apples. This has been the way for centuries for farmers and small towns. Today, we live in a city and food is flown in from Chile and other southern hemisphere places to offset the winter season we are experiences. Yet, in the out of the way villages the traditional ways are slow to die away.

After autumn and the bounty of the harvest comes the winter. Winter time can be very hard. I remember winters with snow banks eleven feet in height. Last winter in southwestern Colorado they received nine feet of snow in 4 days. Several buildings in the small town collapsed. The town ran out of places to put the snow and had to lease a farmers field for depositing the excess snow from the town. I remember a winter that had temperatures hovering in the minus 40 degree range in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A neighbor slipped and fell breaking her wrist. It was a time when people restricted their activities. In 2003 Denver received 4 foot of snow in 3 days. People living in the mountains on private roads were trapped until they could get plowed out which took more than a week.

It was a time of people coming together to help each other. Our neighborhood and many others shoveled a road through the snow to allow one car to travel out to a main road that was being plowed by the county as an emergency route. Friendships formed in the middle of fighting the storm have lasted for the last nine years.

Happy Birthday – Again

Bison herd Tetons National Park April 2008

We are watching you.

A singular anniversary
of a love shared.

Shared between two
Lovers urgent desires.

An anniversary enjoyed
Anticipated and Experienced

Contemplated now
And again and again.

With joy and surprise,
Each a heart warming day.

Through adolescence
To giddy teenage years.

First love deeply felt
Lost in the nights of fire

Love refound amongst the ashes
Kindled in friendship and desire.

A family reformed
Hers and mine made six..

Love found and lived
Each day among the drama

Internalizing lessons learned
Changing self to help one or all.

One step, two, taken
Make a difference

Grow in breadth and width
Sharing and relieving trauma

Satisfaction and resolution gains,
Professionally and personally.

Anniversaries pile up
One upon another and another,

Physical ailments accumulating
Gathering strength and debilitation.

A life now constrained
Pain unrelieved lived

A new life chosen
Slower and without anxiety.

New choices to be made
Creating differently

Using life and experience
Poems and treasures.

Anniversaries mounding up
Heaping pounds and greyness

A body shows the wear
To the wearer of the body.

Slowing life, rushing forward
To another anniversary.

Gathering years of mountains of joys
And ant hills of sorrow.

Happy Birthday brings all together
All happenings and experiences

Even of the two lovers
So long long ago.

Alive for the moment
Of remembrances of remembrances.

Until the next turn of the clock.
Tick Tock, tick tock.

Originally written: January 25, 2012