Tag Archives: mourning the loss of a parent

Mourning the Death of a Parent: A Poem


woodsNothing drives home the reality of adulthood quite so clearly as the death of a parent.

My mother passed away last Wednesday. It was her 89th birthday.

Shortly after my father died 11 years ago, a friend sent me the following poem to comfort me during this loss.

Today, in my mother’s honor, I again share that poem with you:

In Blackwater Woods

–          Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blur shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what it its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Image: Woods-Trees-Forest-the edge of by Guangyanggluo via Pixabay

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you towards some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. A while back, I linked to the absolutely hilarious mock twitter feed @mayoremanuel, which provided a fictionalized account of Rahm Emanuel’s bid to become mayor of Chicago. Now the Atlantic has published a riveting account of the guy behind @mayoremanuel (who has finally gone public), a fascinating tale of satire, narrative structure, and just good old-fashioned fun.

2. I loved my Politics Daily colleague Alison Fairbrother’s account of what it was like to shoot a gun for the very first time…while mourning her father. Beautiful.

3. I always enjoy learning how writers practice their craft. Here’s a description of 20 acclaimed authors and their writing rituals at A Book Inside.

4. And while we’re on the topic of writers, I loved my friend and fellow writer Naomi Williams’ description of how she de-cluttered her house and her checkbook in two short months, even while continuing to write furiously. Best line? “Jesus, I thought, I’m turning into Emily Dickinson.”

5. Well, someone had to do it. Here are Charlie Sheen quotes captioned for New Yorker cartoons.

6. And speaking of Charlie Sheen, here’s a lovely little quiz in The Guardian where you figure which wack-job is speaking: Charlie Sheen or Muammar Qaddafi. (Hat tip: @donnatrussell)

7. Finally, here’s a piece I wrote for Politics Daily about the resignation of the Director of the London School of Economics because of the university’s extensive ties to the Qaddafi family.

Have a great weekend!