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Birthday Poem for Grandma Eunice

March 11, 2018

Part I

In June you wondered what your obituary would say.

How would we summarize your life into one short column?

You told me of an obituary you’d read that mentioned

the woman had been a cub scout leader.

“I was too,” you told me.  “You could put that in my obituary.”

But really, you said, what you wanted to be known for was

loving birds

and loving trees.


No matter what the words of the obituary will say

anyone who knows you

will read that love between the lines,

because we too love birds,

we too love trees

because we carry our love for you into the world.


Part II

When Grandma Janice died

I had a dream

that she was nearby,

and she told me that even if I couldn’t see her,

she was with me.


And while I miss her still,

I hold onto the thought that

I carry her now

in my heart.


Just as I carry you in my heart.


Part III

Today I stood outside.

I heard a blue jay call and a cardinal.

I marked each bird: mourning dove, red-winged blackbird, grackle.

I thought of you with each bird song,

and listened to them for you.


Today I did the crossword puzzle.

Over my morning cup of tea I filled in

acrosses and downs

and left some blank, to figure out later.

I thought of you, who seemed to know every clue,

and felt you with me.


Today I wrote “a lot” (two separate words, a space in between)


“Randy and me” (say it without Randy—would you use I or me?).

I thought of you as I wrote,

and heard your voice coaching me.


I went for a walk in the woods.

I wore my binoculars and stopped to watch the chickadees.

I breathed in the smell of the mud,

looked up to see the canopy of trees interlace their branches.

I thought of all the walks we’ve shared,

and carried your joy with me.


Soon I’ll look for skunk cabbage.

I’ll see a picture of an owl.

I’ll say “good luck with that.”

I’ll read about a life entirely different from my own.

I’ll write a letter by hand, telling mundane bits of life.

I’ll think of you,

and you’ll be with me.


I carry you with me.

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  1. Wow… this is an absolutely beautiful tribute. What a wonderful way to honor her.

  2. karenszymusiak permalink

    I loved your poem about Grandma Janice. Such carefully chosen words. Such heartfelt emotions. You have a way of describing your memories with words of love. Keep writing.

  3. These poems are sweet and beautiful. Each a wonder on their own. Together, they tell a deeper story.

  4. How precious words are and the weight they carry. Beautiful!

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