Can You Visit Your Childhood Home? (Mother’s Day8)

Can you still visit your childhood home? I lost mine when my mother died.

Childhood Home

When I lost my mother
somehow I lost
my childhood home

Father always greets me
at the door—
hat in hand
eager to escape
ready to run

I feel quite sure that if
I could only get inside
I would find her—
by the African violets
near her teacup collection
in the closet still filled
with clothes and gentle scent

Maybe he knows something
I don’t know. . .

(Excerpted from The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, Moving Beyond Regret, copyright 2002 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)


Beth Gainer 30-05-2012, 21:05

Great poem, Lois! Very poignant. I’m a huge fan of your poetry.

hjelmstd 31-05-2012, 19:44

You are so faithful!

Marie Ennis-O'Connor (@JBBC) 01-06-2012, 07:58

My father is stil alive so i can visit my childhood home, but oh Lois, I find it incredibly painful to do so. The house is empty now without my Mom’s loving presence to make it into a home.

hjelmstd 01-06-2012, 17:09

And the other truth is, you sort of lose your father, too, when your mother dies.

Weekly Round-Up « Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer 01-06-2012, 10:47

[…] Lois continues the series of posts, interspersed with her poignant and beautiful poetry about losing her mother. I find it heartbreaking to read these, but am also grateful to find what is in my heart echoed in her words. […]

hjelmstd 01-06-2012, 17:08

Thanks for the mention, Marie.

Liz 01-06-2012, 12:12

Very poignant, Lois.

hjelmstd 01-06-2012, 17:08

Thank you, Liz.

pinkunderbelly 01-06-2012, 12:20

My mom is nowhere to be found in my childhood home, yet everywhere all at once. I’ve only been back once since her funeral, and don’t plan to return–it’s just too painful, even after 7 years. Once again, your writing goes straight to my heart. Thank you!

hjelmstd 01-06-2012, 17:07

I understand.

candidaabrahamson 01-06-2012, 13:34

This is a beautifully evocative piece about your loss. The image of the violets is a lovely, painful metaphor, at one and the same time. When so much poetry can be trite, yours is a fresh expression of the emotion of loss. A true tribute to your mother’s gifts of safety, beauty and love. Thank you for sharing it.

hjelmstd 02-06-2012, 17:19

Lovely and painful. What an interesting juxtaposition! And yet that is part of the “andness” that typifies life.

Jan Baird 02-06-2012, 23:31

Absolutely lovely piece about what it means to love and lose. I visited my childhood home a few years back, but the current owner didn’t invite me inside. Instead, he let me go into the backyard to examine the orchard and the lawn that I mowed so faithfully every week. xx


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