Clouds

My Mom, Marian Nicholson, a Week Before Her 90th Birthday, Family Outing to Siesta Key Beach. Photo by Ellen Maher.


Clouds

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.

Chrysanthemums, Photo by Christopher Lotite from Unsplash.

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.

113 Comments

  1. My best wishes to you and your family. Live together, support each other when they need your help. Your mother is always with you. I’m dedicating my poem based on clouds to her…

    “ Light as the clouds ”

    Make yourself light as the clouds-

    try to fly like them,

    try to run like them,

    try to be painted in the colours like them.❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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      1. You see, how our thoughts connects with eachother, and we never met in the real life. Now, I feel a sense of respect for my words.

        Take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a beautiful poem full of love, Cheryl. I am so pleased that your mom still found value in life at the end of her days. It must have been heartbreaking to witness her struggle with Alzheimers but at least now she is in a better place. I’m sure she would smile to hear this lovely poem! ❤️

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  3. Dear Cheryl,
    You have honored your very special mother beautifully. Everything you told us about her is showing her as a wonderful mother and you as a loving daughter. It is greatly reassuring to look back on your life together and have no regrets. The poem resonates with me, not only because I love to watch the shapes of the clouds too, but also because it inspires me to lead, a life well spent just like your mother did.

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures of animals!!
    When you look at the clouds now, Cheryl, give them a message to take away to your mother, just like the poet wrote in his famous poem “Clouds”, You will find it in the first post of my Literary Series
    Thank you, Cheryl, for such a lovely start to my day.

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Joanna, Thank you for your beautiful and meaningful comment. It is my pleasure to write about my mother, who loved animals. I appreciate photographers so much, especially wildlife photographers. Glad you enjoyed the photos.
      I will check out your literary series and look forward to reading “Clouds.” ❤ All the best!

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  4. Heart warming poem. She looked gorgeous. The sky is mesmerising I agree with your mother. So much it has hidden. The clouds of different shapes and a fun game to figure out the similar objects of the clouds shape. Love the poem.

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    1. Kritika, I so appreciate your kind and thoughtful comment! I agree with you that the sky is “mesmerizing!” We are enjoying beautiful spring weather here…sunny, blue sky with fluffy white clouds and pleasant breezes. I will have to take a walk. I hope you are doing well and having a joyful day! ❤

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      1. That is amazing. Long walks and morning sun rays have healing effect, which I feel everyday. Happy Spring Cheryl. Enjoy the weather. (Heart)
        I am doing good. Thank you 🙂 🙂 (hugs)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. So touching Cheryl! You’re so fortunate having tended to your mother in her last years, to your heart’s content. Mine had just slipped away in sleep at the age of just sixty two, ten years ago. The pain of loosing her still aches my heart.

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    1. Thank you Mousumi, for sharing your thoughts. It was a privilege to spend those years with my mother, who had lived far away for much of my adult life. I am truly sorry that you lost your mother so young. Nothing can take the place of our mothers. ❤ All the best!

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    2. I agree that becoming a mother makes you more fully appreciate your own mother. How many children do you have?

      I was just thinking about my children, aged 30-51, who live far away. I am going to put together some books of poems for them and would like to do some paintings to send them at Christmas as a keepsake. Maybe we will be able to get together again as soon as the pandemic is over. For the time being, I am glad for emails and telephones. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Cheryl, I’m moved deeply by this wonderful tribute to your mother, a woman at the core of your life for so many years. The love between you shines through, the joy together the most precious of gifts. Your outings seem like childhood dream days, the market place filled with colour and it’s wonderful how you list the items, ending up with choosing favourite ice cream for the cones! You’ve made the everyday so special and were lucky enough to recognise the importance of all these moments, absorbing them into your being, ready to draw upon in later years. Your mother seems to radiate happiness and what a wonderful photo of her on the beach and later on her 90th birthday! Glamorous and beautiful! The last years must have been tough for you all but I feel she would have known all the love and care you gave her, all from your heart and in that giving receiving so much yourself. Bless you for this wonderful post, a perfect one for Women’s History Month! Xx

    Liked by 3 people

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  7. A wonderful tribute for a wonderful Mom… Beautifully presented, and a thoroughly delightful read Cheryl, thank you far sharing, I could a family circle of love… 😀😍💛

    Liked by 3 people

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  8. This was a glowing tribute to your mother, Cheryl. She looked so graceful. You must have been so glad to spend the last few years with her, doing things together. Those moments are absolutely precious. She exudes royalty in the pic you clicked on her 90 th birthday ❤️

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Radhika! My mother lived far away for most of my adult life, and spending those last few years with her was truly a gift! My mother grew up the youngest child and the only girl with four older brothers and always had the sense that she was a princess! She used to say that she was, “a child of the King!” (meaning God) It was amusing how much she enjoyed wearing her birthday tiara. Sometimes a little silliness makes us all happy! ❤ I hope all is well with you and your family.

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      1. That’s wonderful Cheryl. I absolutely agree with you. When you look back at life, it’s those fun filled silly moments together, that stay on in the heart. 😊❤️
        Yes, we are all fine. Thanks so much for asking. Enjoy your day 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  9. This beautiful poem brought tears to my eyes. Your mom set a good example seeing magic in the sky and beauty in so many moments. My mom was a lot like that, and I wish I’d appreciated her more before she went to heaven at the age of 82. Now, I am more interested in shapes I see in the clouds and the beauty in birds singing, so I’m learning. 🙂 I’m very glad you had these wonderful times with your mom.

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Thank you, JoAnna, for sharing your thoughts. ❤ I am happy that you enjoyed the poem. The example our parents set for us lives on after they are gone and inspires us. Retirement is a great opportunity to live in the moment and to see the beauty in the world around us. I always enjoy your posts. You live in a beautiful area with much to appreciate. Have a great day! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. Even before I read your poem, what struck me is that your mom has such a beautiful smile, so plain and simple and warm 💖

    And it is so evident that she influenced you in matters of love towards Nature and poetry. Understandably the last few years would have been very challenging, for you, as you strived to give back all the memories which were loved by her and yet were difficult for her to retain. But the day she said that you have been a good daughter, didn’t it balance out most of the hard work you had to do? The knowledge that you had truely paid your mom back for the love she had given? I think that is the biggest accomplishment for a child, and you must have felt very contended indeed!
    I love you poems as always Cheryl 💖 but even more than that i love the simple joys of life you have got from her and given back to her in turn – and which you have so beautifully captured in those simple and beautiful lines. I always think a person who can enjoy shapes in clouds is a very happy person.

    And I too always used to get an ice cream whenever I went to the market with mom 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Deb, I always treasure your comments. Thank you for your kindness and for sharing your reflections. I deeply appreciate what you have written and the time you took to write it!

      Time spent with my Mother was a gift to me, especially since we had lived far apart for much of my adult life. I hope the pandemic is soon over so that you will be able to travel and spend more time with your family. ❤

      Ice cream is a great treat to share with someone you care about, especially on a warm day! Best wishes to you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Thank you, Subbashini, for your kind words. ❤ My mother lived for six months after the pictures were taken. I am so sorry that you lost your mother so young. I wish you comfort and peace. The future is our children. I still remember the lovely rose your daughter painted. ❤ Take care!

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  11. What a wonderful tribute to your mother Cheyrl. What a wonderful and full life she lived and I admire her getting her nursing degree and desire to keep learning and growing. He gift of poetry, outdoors, love of her kids lives clearly on in you!
    💖🤗

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    1. Thank you, Cindy, for your lovely remarks. ❤ I feel very fortunate that I was retired and got to spend so much quality time with my Mom. I have many wonderful memories of her. As I grow older, I remember her experiences and example at each stage of her life, and that is helpful and meaningful to me.

      All the best, Cindy. Take care of yourself! 🙂

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  12. What a beautiful piece, Cheryl. It’s made me feel quite teary! I’m very close to my mum and it’s lovely to be able to celebrate wonderful parents. I love the photo of her on the beach – she sounds like an amazing woman with a generous spirit and kind heart who loved you dearly 🌹 xx

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  13. This is such a beautiful heartfelt tribute to your mother! I love all the things you did together. So nice to have had her around all those years. i know first hand the ravages of Alzheimer’s. It is so sad to see them lose touch!
    Great memories!
    dwight

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  14. A really heart warming tribute to your mom, Cheryl! She must be watching from heaven and sending you blessings all-along! This piece brings memories to each reader!
    Your mom is beautiful and your pets too! 🌸
    Stay blessed! ❤️

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    1. I have wonderful memories of spending time with my mother. She lived about six months after the photos were taken. You will never regret spending quality time with your family. ❤ Thank you so much, Shelly, for sharing your kind response! ❤ Have a great day!

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  15. The love in this poem between you and your mother is so clearly evident. She appreciated life, all the wonderful things that exist when we keep our eyes and hearts open to them.

    Thank you for sharing. And thank you for the encouragement to spend time with our loved ones in whatever ways we can. It is difficult not to be able to do so in person for many around the world, but we can let them know we love them. ❤

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  16. Your mom looks very beautiful and healthy Cheryl. She is really very lucky to have daughter like you. What an amazing lines you have written in your poem for your mom, full of love and memories. Thanks for sharing 😊.

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  17. Your Mom looks happy and stunning. My best girlfriends mom has Alzheimers and she is the happiest she has ever been–no more problems. Tho she doesn’t remember anyone–even her daughter. Perhaps it’s harder on the family than the one with Alzheimers? I have no conclusions as yet….

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    1. Thank you, Genie. I know my mother enjoyed the times we spent together, and she did know everyone. She was aware that she had memory problems, which caused her some distress.

      All the best to your friend and her mother! ❤ Her experience sounds a lot like that of my late husband's grandmother who lived to be 102. She didn't know who anyone was, but she was always happy to see us and was a pleasure to visit. Our children used to perform gymnastics for her when we visited her in the nursing home.

      Liked by 1 person

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