by Anne M. Vale, Ph. D.
Forever By My Side
My mom, Rita, was born in 1920.
Money was scarce and troubles were plenty.
But her faith was strong and her spirit was stoic.
In fact, I’d say she was heroic.
You’d be hard pressed to find
Someone who loved mankind
More than my beloved mother
Whose motto was “to love one another.”
She was generous and beneficent,
Yet reserved and somewhat reticent.
You’d sense she wanted to express a bit more,
But was rather hesitant to open the door.
The Depression Era left its mark.
Her youthful days were sometimes dark.
But in those days you’d never reveal
Pain or heartache- you learned to conceal.
Mom was very bright and witty
Extremely dignified and really pretty.
Yes, Rita stood so proud and tall,
Possessing a memory that stunned us all!
Around the age of eighty-five
Mom’s spirit was amazingly alive!
But her exceptional memory that was one-of-a-kind
Was showing some traces of lagging behind.
And yet there appeared a silver lining,
Defying description or even defining!
Suddenly, my reserved and often shy mother
Took on the ebullient nature of another!
Rita just lifted her protective mask
And it seemed to be an effortless task!
Her nature was no longer shy and coy.
It transformed overnight into boundless joy!
Though dementia can dissolve into sadness and tears,
And episodes, too, of stress and fear.
I choose to remember how out-going and free
My mom became- free to “be me!”
But Rita’s carefree state would end
When she lost her husband and very best friend.
Yes, George, my beloved dad, was the true love of her life,
And his passing last December caused deep grief and strife.
Mom’s eyes now closed – no facial expression.
The doctor called it a terminal depression.
Those once bright eyes might glimmer for a time,
But they now reflected no reason or rhyme.
For the next 9 weeks, Rita barely spoke a word.
Though her eyes were shut, I’m sure that she heard
The love I’d express and the music I’d play;
But that mask of grief stayed day after day.
Yes, Rita so wanted to be with her George
And I prayed that God would quickly forge
A happy reunion between Mom and Dad.
To see Mom like this was just too sad!
Finally, one dark February night
Mom apparently saw the light!
All of a sudden, her eyes opened wide
While I expressed to her all I felt inside.
The mask had vanished as did her sorrow.
She now anticipated her new tomorrow.
We looked into each other’s eyes ‘til morn.
Rita knew she would soon be reborn.
And sure enough at 3:15,
With eyes wide open and totally serene,
Rita peacefully entered eternity,
Joining George in blissful unity.
Mom and Dad are in the presence of the Lord
With the angels and saints in one accord.
No more earthly mask and nothing left to hide,
And though I miss seeing them, they’re forever by my side.
Anne Marie Vale, Ph. D.
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