A Mother’s Gifts to Her Daughter, Still Giving 70+ Years Later

by dena on November 21, 2014

 

This is a story about a mother’s love for her daughter, and about gifts of celebration and compassion given through creative expression. It is also about a daughter still cherishing these gifts, still cherishing the mother who gave them, more than seventy years later. The first gift was a poem the mother wrote to mark her daughter’s wedding in 1940.

bride n bouquet_free picThe bits of this story that I know and am about to share with you, dear readers, have been entrusted to me by a friend I first met nearly sixty years ago.

 

 

My Connection (a brief summary)

My own little side tale begins in 1955 when I began public school.  My first grade teacher created a stimulating learning environment where she taught us to read and to print and to begin playing with numbers. She nurtured our minds and spirits. She was sweet and patient and fair. I adored her. I’m pretty sure everyone in our class adored her. Two years later, she mentored my mother in what would now be called the homeschooling of my younger sister for first grade. Next, she was my sister’s second grade teacher. She held a very special place in the hearts of all in my family.

When I left that elementary school, I didn’t see my teacher while I attended seventh through twelfth grades in other schools. In fact, it was about 35 years after first grade that our paths crossed again. We both lived in a different state than we had previously, and we discovered we had both been volunteers with the same local hospice organization.

It was a shift for me to learn to call her Ellen. Of course, “Mrs.” had been her first name when I was her student. She moved to California in 1995, and we kept in touch, at least writing for Christmas.  I noticed that all of her lovely stationery was made from prints of the paintings and drawings she created. Here is a photo I took of one of her notecards.

Ellens artwork_stationery

Ellen is now in her mid-nineties. In the past several years, she and I have been connecting primarily by email. I have shared my excitement with her as I published each of the three Love Revealed books. She reads the posts on this blog and sometimes emails comments to me about them.

 

 

 

Ellen’s Mother Wrote a Poem for Her

Ellen’s mother, Ethel S. Mims, gave her the following poem in 1940, when Ellen wed her sweetheart. Through her verses, we can feel the love Ethel holds for her daughter.

 

“If I could penetrate the azure mists

That separate my child from me

And know that all is well with her and him

Whom she loves best on earth,

Then I could go about my work with ease

For God intended it should be that way,

That those who love must build a home some day.

 

wedding rings_free pic

“If I could see through distant haze

And know that she and he

Would, all their days,

Be happy in each other’s love,

Then I would be content

For I would know that it was meant above.”

~     ~     ~

The loving young couple said their vows in late December, 1940. Sadly, Ellen’s husband died thirteen days later. There was an abscess on his brain.

 

A Mother’s Gifts for a Daughter’s Breaking Heart

The following three poems were written by Ethel for her daughter, who had been a wife for too short a time. When reading Ethel’s words, she is at times writing as if expressing Ellen’s feelings or thoughts. Seeing this, I wondered if Ethel had already lost her own husband; she was spot on about certain feelings of losing a mate. Ellen said that her father lived till 1980. She wrote to me, “He and all of our family kept me from losing my mind.”

 

1st grief poem:

“We do not need to see beyond

The vale of human woe

To feel our loved ones near us

As we tread the earth below.

For released from all the cares

And fears and tears of earthly life

They hover close about us

As we battle with the strife.

 

 

“We cannot touch or feel or see

The human form again,

But we know they’re ever present

When we would commune with them.

So let us go on bravely

And do our work each day

And help our needy brothers

Along life’s hard highway.

For only by doing for others day by day

Can we feel that peace and quiet

That enables us to say,

O God, Thou great and holy One

We know Thou are omnipotent.”

 

cemetery_headstones n irises_free pic

2nd grief poem:

“The days stretch on into the lonely years;

The future looks so bleak and drear

What use to waste my time in futile tears

About the things that once my heart held dear.

 

“I idle with my brush and pen

Then toy with my needle

And wonder why in all this world of men

My lot was just to love and lose again.

 

“I turn in agony of thought

To that brief time we had together

 

And of the lessons love has taught

There seems no end, no way to measure.

 

“If I could only stroke his hair again

Or see his look,

But all those dear familiar things

Are buried deep in memories book.

 

“Where I can take them out again at will

And feel his love

And know that he is with me still

Enthroned above.”

 

3rd grief poem:

” ‘Tis spring! The trees are bursting into bud

And everywhere the air is filled

With birds’ sweet music notes and trills

And only I am sad.

 

“I should not feel so lone I know

For every day dear friends and loved ones show

Their kind regard for me;

And other lives are filled with woe

Who are not so warmed and fed as I and so

I am determined to be glad.”

~     ~     ~

Ethel’s poetry carries timeless support and insight. Her emotions and wisdom continue to shine through her writing, still embracing Ellen with love as well as rippling out to many more people now. It reveals Mother-Daughter love and it brings messages of Living Through Grief, which are both book topics in our Love Revealed series.

Imagine how your words and actions and other caring gifts might affect your loved ones now and even for very many more years.

 

Ellen, over the miles I am sending you virtual hugs of love and appreciation. Thank you for sharing from both your heart and your mother’s heart, in letting her poems emerge into the world where people might experience comfort, celebration, and love from reading them.

Readers, if you want to write a comment to Ellen, please use the Comments section here OR go to the Connect page to use the Contact Us form. I will make sure she has a chance to read any notes.

Blissings, Dena

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2 comments
One Breeze
One Breeze

It is the bright illumination from souls like Ethel and Ellen, that makes this journey thru Mother Earth School of Life Performing Arts bloom with the pleasant fragrance of life. Thanks for sharing the fragrance of your thoughts, Dena !!

DenaClayton
DenaClayton

@One Breeze Such a caring and sweet note from you, thank you so much. I will share your message with Ellen, I imagine she will be delighted by it.


Blissings

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