I held your worn red rosary
to pray the joyful mysteries
just before your funeral began.
You cared for so many
and prayed for so much.
I must do alone.
I sift through your prayer books,
Miraculous Medals, Mass cards,
special intentions, and charitable deeds.
I’m not sure where
I fit in them now
you’ve passed from this life
into the next.
You’d cut up fresh fruit,
slice raw vegetables,
knit slippers for your grandchildren,
work in your garden,
play cards with your friends,
receive the Body and Blood
of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
You’d roll your hair in curlers,
put homemade cold cream on your face,
ponder for periods forming the longest words
when you played Scrabble.
You saved a pile of newspaper clippings,
stories from magazines, and articles
to pass on to a family member or friend
you thought might find them of interest.
I still have some of the garage sale
finds that you’d give us each holiday
along with a savings bond receipt,
put aside for our higher education.
A passion for learning, current events,
international travel, new foods, and
exotic places kept you moving, tasting,
experimenting long after others
had slowed down, given up
or thrown in the towel.
You longed to be useful and needed
always wanting to know
what you could do to help.
You came to Mom’s rescue
when Dad was away
traveling for business,
or not available in some way.
Making meals, cleaning up,
decorating the church for holy days,
being one in the Legion of Mary
who interceded daily for many petitions.
Recycling pieces of foil,
scraps of paper, collecting
packages of salad dressing,
and reusing paper towels,
you didn’t waste or trash things
before their usefulness had run out.
Your eyes filled easily with tears
after all you’d been through—
the loss of your sister so young,
your mother, your daughter,
your long-suffering husband,
your health, your independence,
quite a bit over the years.
Ever-appreciative of a visit,
time spent outdoors,
bouquets of flowers,
spicy beef with broccoli,
a hearty laugh, a good book,
an old movie, a familiar song.
won’t be long.
I wrote the above poem in honor of my maternal grandmother Marilyn Lohwater, on the day of her funeral & burial, February 9, 2013.