In Mother’s Shoes: Walking Out Grief

paving stones with moss
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

In Mother’s Shoes: Walking Out Grief

 

A mountain of grief
And a pile of shoes
Met me on the heels of momma’s death
Daddy went first
We went together
Grief shared, grief diminished

Big shoes
Nine or nine and a half
Ferragamo and Stuart Weitzman
Dignity sat at the end of those never-ending limbs
Boney feet, legs
Forgot how to walk
Toward the end
But taught me how to walk
To love
Legs, regal
Queenish and royal
Blue
Like veins
Tributaries, threads of her hands
Blood routes

We sat side by side on Sundays
Hushed on plush red velvet
Quiet as a church mouse, all but my tummy rumbling for lunch at the country club after church
Sweet smells of Methodism and old burnt-red hymnals linger still

I followed the sermon like a ten year old,
catching words and riding the tide of theology
I knew God was in that sanctuary (ten year old faith is strong like that)
The veins of her hands
Like a road map to life
I fingered her gold charms, reading each like a chapter book on a bracelet
Touching the pages
There, on her wrist, like a blind child reads braille
Dreaming of life and lunch

Now I walk out the loss, sift through memory,
find a way to remember

Slip into the slipper-style blue suede driving shoe
This is not a dress rehearsal, not dress-up
Though I am still a child, hers
Left, right
Both shoes
Misfit but sacred

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In Mother’s Shoes: Walking Out Grief  first appeared at The Kershaw County Fine Arts Center as part of a collaboration between myself and Laurie Brownell McIntosh. The exhibition included  collaborative painting and poetry from both artists.

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Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before

Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before

the writer of Ecclesiastes knew
I  am learning too
there is nothing new under the sun
a million graduates graced the stage
diplomas and dreams clenched in fists of tan hands
a million mothers have sat with pride
remembering everything that ever was
nothing is not remembered, nothing is allowed forgetting
you may say I have heard this before
this retelling, it’s too familiar to wake me up, make me come alive
everything about this moment
the other ones too
though told before
burst forth with new birth
and old is new, anew
don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before
because I will not stop talking
a million mothers may sit with pride
but there is only one me
and there is only one us
repetition is the echo, the bold, the exclamation point
everything bears repeating
the chorus and refrain sing me home

 

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On Joining Me in Another Place

Dear Ones:

If you are reading this post because you happened here from the crazy place that is the internet, Welcome.

If you are reading these words because you are a follower or subscriber of this blog, Thank You. For following along on this writing journey. For your support and encouragement, your comments and your own words here.

I am popping in to say that this is my writing home, my blog, my website, my place. But I want you to know that I also have another place, designed for people who choose to share a little space in their email inbox once a month or so. That decide to invite my words into that guarded space, the inbox —in the form of a letter. It has grown to be one of my favorite places to create, to communicate, and to correspondent with my readers.

You are invited, and I would be honored to have you join me here: The Notebook. 

Emails are free, and are sent once a month-ish. Once you subscribe, you have access to all letters in the archives.

I hope to see you there. (which is right here: The Notebook – a subscriber only monthly newsletter.)

with grace and gratitude,

elizabeth w. marshall

(join me on Instagram where I am apt to write a miniblog post, a poem, or a short prayer or two, too. I am a huge fan of Instagram as a place for telling stories and weaving together pictures and words. It is like a picture book for grown-ups.)

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