Lois Hjelmstad

Lois Hjelmstad.com

Compassion and courage for the times you need it.

During the eleven long weeks that my mother lay dying in hospice, someone told me to ask her everything I wanted to know. I tried to think of things, but I was so shocked by the whole situation that I couldn't form the questions. Ask YOUR mother things you need to know NOW.

I Clutch the Keys
My mother held the keys
to what I can’t remember

She was the buffer
between eternity and me

She was the one
who first gave love

Now—against my will—
I am at the head of the line

I lead the way
to the new tomorrow

I clutch the keys to the memories
my children can’t remember

I give the love
that can’t be bought

At last I am first—
I’d rather be second again.

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

Do you know your medical history? Your family's? Do you remember your parents' parents? What do you want your children to know?

4 Responses

  1. Beautiful poem, Lois. It’s so true that those of us who are lucky to still have our moms should savor the memories they have to share with us. You teach a powerful lesson, here.

  2. Your poetry is exquisite, Lois. I wish I could have asked my mother more questions about her life as a child. I do know my medical history and that of my family, thanks to the openness of my parents and my single sibling. And I do remember my grandparents, some more than others. They treated me with a sweetness I’ll treasure forever. I want my children to know that these ancestors stuck together as husbands and wives through thick and thin, raising upright children, and showing faithfulness and love to each other right to the end. xx

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