My mother Peg Wilke died peacefully at home on Sept. 6, 2014.
She made me promise
we’d have a goodbye party
and nobody be sad. I promised.
I brought the flowers and balloons,
A cloud of balloons floating above our heads
above the coffee and cookies and punch
in the Friendship Hall of the church.
After the party,
I brought the balloons home
And they floated above my bowed head
until gravity got the better of them.
By morning, I had a balloon rug.
In an old photograph I love,
she looks as happy as I’ve ever seen her,
head thrown back, laughing with my dad.
She said that must have been taken
when she heard she was pregnant with me.
Which meant she loved me for
the 30 weeks before I was born.
and every day, hour, and minute since.
Sometimes it was too much
Sometimes it wasn’t enough.
I took her for granted.
I moved far away.
I had other things to do.
she loved me for 24,000 days
and never turned away.
For 600,000 hours,
she never said a mean thing behind my back
In 34 million minutes,
she never walked off in someone else’s arms.
The only trouble was,
I was an only child.
She set the bar so high,
I expect everyone to love me that much.
She forgot many things, but never my name.
She made me raise my right hand
and promise that I wouldn’t be sad very long
I promised, fingers crossed.