On September 28, 1994 my mother died from the same strain of pneumonia that killed Jim Hensen, creator of The Muppets. She was 80 years old and her mind was sharp to the very end. It was then I learned that losing one’s mother is a special kind of raw pain that will linger forever. I cannot tell you how often I wish I could see her or pick up the phone and call. I’ve worn her gold wedding band on the index finger of my left hand since the day she died.
Her name was Lorena, but she always went by the nickname of Rene (pronounced Reen). She was a terrific seamstress as long as I can remember and at the time of her retirement, she was supervisor of the sewing room of a large company in Cincinnati, Ohio. She moved to Colorado when my stepfather, her husband of 41 years, died in 1988 and lived only 2/10th of a mile from my home. I could see her house from my front window.
She cooked the world’s best green beans and made a delicious fruit pie for my husband, Richard, once a week. She’d call him to stop and pick it up on his way home and it always had just one piece missing. I don’t blame her, after going to all that trouble, why not enjoy it? She was active in her church and Rebekah’s Lodge with lots of friends for a busy social life.
She also had her share of heartache. When I was four years old, she lost my little sister in an early birth. Her only son died suddenly from a coronary at age 45. She spoke to me about both my siblings on her last day. Never having been a smoker, she lost a lung when she developed a benign cyst in its center and a blood vessel was nicked during surgery. Late in life she developed congestive heart disease. She loved growing flowers and caring for birds, so in lieu of memorial flowers, an aviary was built in her name by the Volunteers of America.
At the time of her death, I was still writing poetry and the one I wrote for her was published in an anthology aptly titled “Echoes From the Silence”. There is no silence louder than the loss of a beloved voice.
THE NEWEST ANGEL
The angels pulled the clouds apart and lowered golden stairs.
My Mother looked toward the sun and saw my brother there.
Her weary face she turned once more to look into my eyes.
“If you would let me go,” she said, “I’d start toward the sky.”
Into my own, I took her hand and gently touched her hair.
I told her that she could get well, that I would never care.
With silent tears, I watched her go. She turned to smile once more.
She blew a kiss and climbed the stairs to walk through golden doors.
A peacefulness she sent to earth to tell me she’d got there.
And happiness is hers once more…no longer has she cares.
The angels are excited cause a new one’s come to sew
white gossamer into soft gowns with piping made of gold.
God lets her water all the plants and feed the snow white doves
and send to earth soft, gentle winds to touch me with her love.
My Guardian Angel has a name and is a special lady.
She’s looking down from up above, still watching o’er her baby.
(© September 1994 Jackie Taylor Zortman)
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