My Mom, Marian Nicholson, a Week Before Her 90th Birthday, Family Outing to Siesta Key Beach. Photo by Ellen Maher.
Nearly ninety, Mom still liked to come
to Sunday dinner at our home.
After dinner, we’d watch an old movie,
Mom’s cat Kitzey stretched out by her knee.
Photo by Deric Yu from Unsplash
We’d call up relatives and have a chat
as she sat stroking her purring cat.
Our dog Clifford wanted petting, too…
That was something Mom was happy to do.
Photo by Shridhar Dixit.
Mom always enjoyed long country drives.
She would smile, her eyes coming alive,
watching egrets and cranes or horses and cows,
but most of all, she loved looking at clouds.
“Those clouds look like a fawn and a deer.
That one’s a man with a long white beard.”
Photo by Heyzeus Lozoya from Unsplash.
She never grew tired of seeing the sky of blue
and clouds with sunlight shining through.
I think she imagined Heaven to be in that space,
and she was going soon to that wonderful place.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” she’d always say,
and knowing she was happy made my day.
Photo by wuttichai from Adobe Stock Photos
When we were kids, Mom shared the charms
of an idyllic childhood on her family’s farm.
Now the farmers’ market was our place to go
to buy carrots to feed the horses and goats.
Mom visited the peacocks, roosters and hens,
pigs in the barn and roosters in their pens.
We bought pumpkins and chrysanthemums,
horehound, lemon drops, and Teaberry gum,
but no trip to the market would be complete
without an ice cream cone for a treat.
So many flavors, Mom could always find
a flavor that was one of her favorite kinds.
Mom loved her family, and nearly every day,
we talked about family members far away.
One day I was visiting Mom; she was resting in bed.
“You’ve been a good daughter to me,” she said.
Though home was now an independent living,
she was still my mom, still caring and giving.
For her, things were not how they used to be,
but she always took an interest in me,
Marian Nicholson on Her 90th Birthday. Photo by Cheryl Batavia
Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places by Cheryl Batavia
My Mom, Marian Nicholson (1924-2015) always encouraged me in a love of nature, art, and poetry. At the age of forty-five she fulfilled a lifelong dream and graduated from nursing school. We were very proud of Mom. As she grew older, my sister and I increasingly looked out for her. The last thirteen years of her life, she lived near me and we did a lot of things together. This poem is about the last four years of Mom’s life, when she was in an independent living center suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a sad time, but it gave us both pleasure to spend a great deal of time together.
I celebrate Women’s History Month by posting this poem in honor of my mother.