In Memory

Today would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. I have been thinking about her so much lately. I miss her a lot. She was loving, fun, and selfless.

Clockwise from upper left, 1988, 1949, 2006, today

My daughter wrote two sonnets about her grandma after we saw her for the last time:

jalapeño sweats
I’d never seen my Grandma grey and worn.
This shrunken woman in the hospice bed
cannot be my grandma. My grandma lives alone
in Yucca Valley, hiking on the dirt
roads with muddy furrows that sink like
the laugh lines on her cheeks. She conceals
wispy hair under immaculate wigs. Despite
sore hammer toes she works her sky-high heels.
That day I hiked the furrowed roads alone,
adrift amidst waxy Creosote.
Stringy jackrabbits, baby quail gambol,
flitting through dry gulches like rowboats.
Somehow I didn’t want to be inside
Spring Break two thousand ten, when Grandma died.
Spring Break two thousand ten, when Grandma died,
I arrived in time for bon voyage,
the convalescent odors scattered by
tamales, Spanish rice, tortillas, guac,
and Grandma, a bit tipsy on boxed wine.
One last boisterous fiesta while the Reeds
were still a family, whole and feeling fine.
The jalapeño sweat displaced the needs
that lay beneath the cornered hospice sheets.
The jalapeños were what got to me,
the smiles against those hospice whites.
The laugh of one you love is therapy
with nebulizer and glass of sweet rosé.
I’d never seen my grandma worn and grey.
By Maria Krebs

And one I wrote after she died.
Screen shot 2010-04-25 at 8.51.03 PM

Close to Me

13 thoughts on “In Memory

  1. I’m shedding tears at the loss of this wonderful woman – mother/grandmother. Your poems paint a picture of a strong and caring person. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Denise as you remember your mother on what would have been her 90th birthday.

  2. Dear Ross, Nancy, and Linda,
    Thank you so much for reading about my mom and sharing your comments. I was able to have her in my life longer than many people have their moms; for that I am very thankful. My family and I were also able to spend her last days with her, which was a huge blessing.

    Thanks again,

  3. I thought you might blog about your mom after seeing your photos on flickr. Your daughter’s sonnets contain beautiful images about a beautiful person. I’m sure your happy memories of your mom help you on days like today.

  4. Dear Denise,

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. The sonnets are beautiful, and my eyes are welled with tears. I love how you wrote, exchanging her old rugged cross for the crown. — (It’ll be 5 years since my mom passed on Jan 26th, and I hold on to the idea that her worn out body was replaced with a perfect one, free of pain). —
    I’m praying for God’s peace to comfort you as your mom is heavy on your heart.

    Your friend,

  5. I’ve been thinking a LOT about Grandma lately… I could be in the middle of doing something and right out of the blue, it hits me. She still has a positive impact on all of us and I’m so blessed to have a Grandmother like her. Happy Birthday Grandma, we will see you someday! Love you!

  6. Well, this beautiful tribute has me in tears missing my grandma….I’ve never seen those poems before and they remind me so much of her. First thing on Sunday morning,Sophie had us all sing happy birthday to nana….we all think of her and smile at all our happy memories. Thanks Aunt Denise!!! I love you!

  7. Kenny,
    Thank you, sweetie. I know she has taught me so much, I can’t even begin to count the ways. I think of her often too, just so much this birthday week. Even when I was shopping after Christmas, I found myself more than once seeing something she would like and picking it up thinking of her and her coming birthday.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and memories with me. I know she would love to hear your sweet family singing happy birthday. I wonder what she did in heaven yesterday?

    Love you both,
    Aunt Denise

  8. Tracy,
    Thank you, friend. We don’t get over losing our mamas, do we. I do take comfort that she is breathing easy now with her new body.


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