Home Up Angel Wings



Upon Waiting For

My Mothers Death

By Roy D. Follendore III
Copyright 1994 RDFollendoreIII
4:06 PM

My Mother was everything
and is now like my child.
Her illness has brought
this completion of our relationship.
Perhaps I am the adult now,
yet I find I know nothing.
I can not even protect her
as she once protected me..
I can only sit next to her.
Holding her soft worn hands,
purple black from hospital needles and pain
I can do nothing to help.
So I hold her hand, answer the phone
for some well wishing friend,
knowing that there is no wellness here.
Each moment seems endless.

the absence of life,
the living life surrounds me,
closes in on me.
It isolates me.
Each moment seems endless.
Listening to free flowing bubbles of oxygen
ripple through water I sit,
I wait,
counting the time,
moment by moment,
bubble by bubble,
pearl by pearl.
Each bubble awaits it's turn
pulls free,
hesitates only the brief time
needed to separate,
come to it's own
and continue on it's fated path.
Though fast flowing I count
every single one.
Each representing a moment,
a small breath of life.
Each breath of life,
perhaps a life of it's own.
Somehow the air knows
what to do,
where to go.
Knowing it knows,
the air moves to where it must go.
Perhaps like us it has no will.
Moving on,
merging, tracing,
tracing a constant path onward,
each pearl of air moves onward,
like a precession of invisible cars
on an old city highway.
Clearly clear,
in clear plastic,
pushed, pulled, pressured forward,
continuing to the end as it moves.
Air now moist,
pressure waves,
continues to a final release.
And each release is sudden,
Escaping, instantly
merging with the room,
filling the room
becoming the room.
Somehow filling Mother
and me...
in that instant becoming part of us...
We are not alone now.
We are one,
breathing as one.
We breathe each other's air.
I breathe for her.
Though I know that I can't,
I shouldn't,
I do.
It makes me light headed.
When my mother sighs
my heart moves to my throat...
I can not see.
She breathes again
and once again our breath merges,
continues on.
My Mother's breath moves
forever onward.
Through the doors,
the vents
the cracks of the walls.

Through the Hospital,
meeting and merging
filling others along it's path.
First breath
last breath
or just another breath,
each pearl of life flows
onward to the realm.

In this instant
or in that instant
perhaps birds sing,
babies cry,
and bumble bees float
on my mother's
eternal breath.
Life is too short,
death too quick
but dying is endless.



This poem is dedicated to my Mother Ruth Maxine Henry who endured great suffering and played the role of the matriarch all the way to the end.  I got to speak to her on the first day I arrived.  She was a religious person, though during my life we did not often go to church services.  She told me that in her dreams she was building a cabin in the mountains near Abingdon, Virginia where she grew up as a girl. When she passed away I cut a lock of her hair and flew one evening over her mountains where I let it fall.  That was my way of letting her go.  

My Mom was a powerful woman in spirit and I owe much of what I am to her.  I wrote this poem a few hours before my Mother died in a hospital in Tupelo, Mississippi after I spent days and nights in the hospital during the death watch and it expresses the depth of breathlessness that I experienced as I was torn between helping her to die and wanting her to live to be with us.  

My sisters said they thought that I had stood solid like a rock but it took me years to recover to the point where I could think or talk about these moments. It is my hope that others who may read this and have experienced the grief of a similar situation will know that others understand how they may feel. 

My Mother is now buried next to my stepfather William Harvey Henry in a small church cemetery near Euporia, Mississippi.   

 Roy D. Follendore III




Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved