Sunday, May 29, 2011

To Catch A Glimpse

Cynthia Schuerr
      She flittered and flew through the woods like a firefly. She glistened and glowed in the dark of night, while her wispy wings moved her, in and around the limbs of the trees. The wind shifted and her form wavered like a flame in the breeze. 
     She played in a make believe world, which she created. The next downturned wind carried Gwendolyn just outside the trees that lined her backyard. It was late, but she often stayed out until dark and waited for Mother’s call. Why hasn’t Mother called? 
     Gwendolyn, a girl without friends, often occupied unreal places. Eight years young, she learned to entertain herself. She never met her father and her mother was lost in her own private made up world. Neither one shared their world with the other. Many times, Gwendolyn watched Mother dance around the living room, pretending to be anywhere but where she was. Gwendolyn wished she could go there, too, but she had never been invited. 
     Floating like a feather, back to reality, she heard a sound coming from behind a dense cluster of trees. The sound of twigs snapping, one after another, so slowly at first….. “Who’s there?” Gwendolyn shuddered and held her breath. No one answered. The twigs snapped faster and louder, closer and closer they came. She gasped and ran toward the house. Her little steps were no match for the ones coming up behind her. She could here him breathing as clear as she could hear her own breath. She could smell the stale tobacco. A tug at her wing and a calloused hand on her shoulder…….finally she pulled away. 
     “Gwendolyn, it’s time for dinner.” She ran through the trees, relieved to hear her mother’s voice. She knocked open the gate and it slammed hard behind her. The front door still out of reach, she tore up the brick pathway. Gasping for air, she opened the door and with a quick turn of her head, glanced back over her shoulder. No one followed her. She leaned back on the door and gasped until she was able to breathe. She glided passed the mirror in the hallway and her reflection was gone. Gwendolyn stood in the doorway of the kitchen. The light above the sink cast a shadow over the room. The warmth of the stove and the aroma of chicken broth and mushrooms were all too familiar. Mother looked up at her with a soft and welcoming smile. “Please remove your wings, dear, before coming to the table,” she heard Mother say. 
     A single teardrop skimmed her cheek. The tear was for Mother, who was suffering her loss. Mother sat at the table set for two and dished out the chicken tetrazzini, Gwendolyn’s favorite. It had been two months, since Mother called her to come inside for dinner, but she never came. Mother looked for her, but she was nowhere to be found. She trembled at the thought of what might have happened to her little girl. She prayed that it did not. She mends the tear in the wing, repeatedly, waiting for Gwendolyn to return. She sits at the table that is set for two. “Gwendolyn, I’ve sewn your wing,” she sings. “Come here, my girl. Where are you?” 
     Looking across the room with empty eyes, her tears suspended in time. She lives in a world where Gwendolyn lived, but lives no longer. It had been months, since Gwendolyn disappeared. Mother peers out the window for hours at a time, waiting and waiting for her daughter to come running home. No one visits her. Neighbors back away with a look of pity, or perhaps, fear. When Mother isn’t staring out the window, she is preparing Gwendolyn’s favorite meal or repairing the tattered wing. Night after night, she looks to the glow of light for comfort. 
     The knock at the door, that she knew would come one day, brought her back from where she hides. She let them in. The county police shared the information they had just uncovered. She listened. Their mouths moved and she could see the sadness and caring in their eyes. She couldn’t hear…. or wouldn’t hear……their words.
     Little Gwendolyn must have felt so frightened and alone. Where was her mother? Why didn’t she call? If only she had called….. but, she didn’t. Mother will now live with the sadness and the guilt. The neighborhood will continue to shun her and Gwendolyn will watch her as she stares into the darkness of the night. 
     One day, she will invite Mother to join in her new world…..when the time is right. Mother dances, no longer. Instead, she will wait to catch a glimpse of her firefly.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Poem for My Granddaughter

Recently, my family celebrated my granddaughter's birthday. As she turned eleven years old, I couldn't help but reflect on the many wonderful memories I have of watching her grow. And I couldn't help feeling a bit nervous (as parents and grandparents do), watching her move into the pre-teen phase and wondering what is next for her.

As thoughts ran through my head I was inspired to write this little poem. I hope you enjoy reading it:-)


When challenged with adversity
Strength becomes our friend
For without it, we will surely see
The beginning to an end

End of what? You may ask
Let me tell you, now
Our bubbly spirit, loving heart
And all else that may follow

We are not, meant to be
The beaded shell they see
A shine that comes from the glow within
Is what is meant to be

When in doubt of this truth
Look into your heart
You will see the answers there
Indeed, you are very smart

So, be strong even though
Life seems sometimes hard
You have all you need to know
You are who you are

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's DayImage via Wikipedia
My Mother is gone, now. She passed away in 2007.I'm looking forward to seeing her again when it's my time.I look forward to showing her the appreciation that she deserved.
Growing up, what I needed from my mother wasn’t available. My mom’s understanding, compassion and love, was spent trying to make her relationship work with dad. Their relationship, at best, was unstable. They abused one another verbally and emotionally and stopped very short of physically. The physical abuse,was saved for my four siblings and I. Spilled milk, literally, would enrage her.
Mom cried more than she laughed, in her younger days when she was raising us. As a child, I only saw what happened right in front of me. I didn’t analyze it or try to figure out why it happened. I just felt the hurt. I never had a clue how bad my mom’s heart had been hurting. I never heard the word, ‘dysfunctional’ to describe a family or relationship, back then. However, many families were dysfunctional, without even knowing it. There was no blame placed for how we were treated. That was just the way it was.
When I moved on with my life and began my family, her emotional suffering still didn’t make itself apparent to me. Things went on as normal. She would laugh at get-togethers and be charming and everyone loved her. Her faith in the Catholic Church wouldn’t allow her to divorce, so she and my dad were still together, still aggravating one another. I perceived it as a sham, thinking I knew the real her. We fought about the right way and the wrong way to do things, like cleaning the bathroom, making formula or folding diapers. (Yes, I’m dating myself here.)

It was when she had a near fatal stroke, I began to realize how hard her life had been and now I wanted to take care of her. Easier said than done, we fought about her therapy, which she didn’t want to do and she hated every meal I cooked. I realized how she liked to push my buttons one day, when she made a snide comment about something I had done like burnt dinner or something and she started to laugh at me. I realized that mindless bantering was her way of dealing with her pain and always had been. I laughed with her. Some things never change, but one thing did and that was our love for each other.

I didn’t know how much she meant to me and how much I would miss her, until her time was almost over. The morning I kissed her forehead and watched her draw her last breath, I hoped she knew how much I loved her. I think of her everyday, sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry. I regret wasting all of that time carrying hurt and anger when in the end I can honestly say that she was a pretty amazing woman.

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