Friday, August 10, 2012

Letting Go

Thought for the day:  I've told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation. [Elisabeth Kubler-Ross]

I've been thinking a lot about that Kubler-Ross quote since my mother-in-law died. Probably because it pretty much summarizes how Mom felt. Death was nothing to fear. It was truly a graduation, and something to embrace. And she rose to the occasion with a smile on her face.

And a poem arose in my mind...

                                                  The twine wound tight around my wrist,
                                                  I gripped it fast within my fist.
                                                  But she danced in the wind 
                                                  And pulled at me,
                                                  As though she begged 
                                                  To be set free.

                                                 With heavy heart and tear-filled eyes,
                                                  I let her go,
                                                  Then watched her rise.
                                                 Up higher and higher,
                                                 She soared for miles...

                                                         I can see her no longer.
                                                        But I know that she smiles.

                                                         Alice Swiderski, 1925-2012
                                                        (And what a DASH she had!)

 I've gotta tell you this story... this true story. The only thing Mom expressed any regret about was that she wouldn't be around for the birth of her next great-grandchild, who's due in October. But she quickly smiled about it, and promised she'd "go pick out a good one". The afternoon after Mom was buried, a Mylar balloon "walked" down the sidewalk in front of my mother-in-law's house. It just ambled down the street about three feet off the ground, trailing its string behind it, and then stopped in the area between my mother-in-law's and sister-in-law's houses. It TURNED up the driveway, "walked" up to my sister-in-law, stopped again, and then bounced up to gently hit her in the face. Several times.

Know what it said on that balloon? "It's a boy."

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. What a beautiful poem and an amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing it!
    And the video invoked tears....

  2. I suppose the saddest thing for all of us (when we graduate) is not being around to see grandchildren grow, new generations arrive, etc. Nothing could ever be more important than that!

  3. we always read Kubler-ross' work when in nursing school..... she wrote alot of sense

    nicely written

  4. Beautifully written!

    Life is best lived when we touch others with kindness and love and leave with tales of laughter and joy.

  5. Love this story. Thanks for sharing it. :)

  6. Beautiful. I hope I can someday manage to leave this world as gracefully. :)

  7. WOW, that is an amazing story!

    That's one thing that made me very sad of my dad's death. He never got to see my child.

  8. You're kidding on the balloon story right? It's a boy?

    Lovely poetry. Truly lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I have chills, Susan. And the poem is lovely.

  10. I was tearing up from very early on, but by the time I got to this, 'The only thing Mom expressed any regret about was that she wouldn't be around for the birth of her next great-grandchild, who's due in October. But she quickly smiled about it, and promised she'd "go pick out a good one". ,' my heart was wrenching.

    Once again, my deepest sympathies, Susan. Another beautiful tribute.

  11. It's impossible to take your eyes off a balloon floating away into a blue sky, even when it's just a tiny colourful spec. Now I know why.

    Quite lovely, Susan. X

  12. Jon- Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. No matter how many times I look at that video, it brings tears to my eyes.

    Cro- I know what you mean, but there's a certain comfort in knowing that the family will go on without us, too.

    John- Kubler-Ross shone light on topics people were afraid to face, and helped a bazillion people learn how to cope. She was truly amazing.

    Arleen- Thank you. I agree; a legacy of love and kindness means a lot more than silver and gold. ('Course, my KIDS may disagree... HA!)

    Linda- Glad you liked it.

    Linda- You and me both.

    Al- Thank YOU.

    Jennifer- Who knows? Maybe he DID. (And still does.)

    Anne- Nope. Not kidding at all. Kinda eerie, isn't it? The doctor says it's gonna be a girl, though. So we'll see. Then again, my niece, who got married earlier this year, also wants to have a baby. And is hoping for a boy.

    Karen- It gave me chills, too. I mean, I KNOW someone in the neighborhood just happened to lose a balloon. But still, the way it happened was sooooo uncanny.

    Suze- Didn't mean to make your heart wrench. I meant to express the fact that, strangely enough, there was some joy involved, too. My sister-in-law even put a bumper sticker on Mom's coffin, which said, "Bingo players don't die. They wait until their number's called."

  13. Carrie- Thanks. Sweet way to look at it.

  14. That just makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.....can't wait to October to find out.

  15. Cool. I'll be shocked if it's not a boy. The day after my dad died, I went outside and the biggest, blackest butterfly I've ever seen was hanging around my front door. He stayed until I got in my car and left. I've always thought it was my dad saying goodbye.


  16. Susan, my mother was a high-school teacher and your graduation analogy would not have escaped her. A moving post. Thanks.

  17. So awesome! I love life-stories like this!


  18. Delores- Gives me goose bumps every time I tell anyone about it.

    Janie- Neat. I hope it was your dad's way of telling you good-bye.

    Geo- Glad you liked it. Thanks you.

    Lana- Thanks. Me, too.

  19. I know that if we were meant to know we would but I wish I knew if Mum can hear all my news that I keep telling her about. Every time something good happens I want to phone and tell her like I used to. That balloon story is so amazing. Thank you for sharing it.

  20. Rosalind- I can hardly believe it, but my mother's been gone for sixteen and a half years now, and I still have to urge to pick up the phone to call her ... or to buy her something that I know she'd love. I'm glad you liked the story about the balloon. Strange, but true.

  21. Great balloon story. Still feel for your loss. I posted a story today I think you will find amusing.

  22. Mr. C- Thanks. I appreciate it. Heading over to your blog now.

  23. I like the balloon story - life is full of little coincidences (?) like that.

    Yes, the video got me a bit teary-eyed, too. Makes you think about your own dash.

  24. a lovely video and poem.
    makes me think...and appreciate.

  25. Pixel Peeper- (What a cute name!) Coincidences? Maybe. Whatever they are, they sure do keep life interesting. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    Annmarie- I think that video has helped a lot of people think and appreciate. Glad ya liked it.

  26. My neighbor's son used to blow bubble to his grandfather in heaven. :)

  27. My condolences on your loss. Even though we celebrate the graduation - love that idea - it is still hard to lose someone close and we need to honor that.

    I loved your poem and the story of the balloon. So cool!

  28. What a wonderful story about the balloon! It's one of those things that reminds you there is more to life and the universe than we can ever understand.

  29. A short while after M died, one night, The Boy and I set off some chinese lanterns.

    Balloons sound fun :) And joyous, and colourful.

  30. Juli- Aw, that's really sweet.

    Maryann- Thank you. You're right. We know she's at peace, but that doesn't stop us from missing her or mend the empty spot she left in our hearts.

    Dianne- Glad you liked it. It sure was one of those gasp of wonder moments for us.

    Lady- I'll bet the lanterns were a glorious sight.

  31. I'm so sorry for your husband's and your loss. We lost my mom last September, she too missed the birth of her 2nd great grandchild, a girl, by a few weeks. We think she was mom's replacement.

    Two weeks ago I lost a friend - far too young. It seems as though it's been a summer for loss.

    What an amazing story about the balloon! I will be keeping your mom-in-law in my thoughts and prayers.

  32. OB & CS- Thank you. In support of what you said about the new baby, after my father died a few years ago, my husband and I were cleaning out his house, and in the kitchen was a picture my mother had hung many years before. It showed a picture of a young child, and the words said, "A baby is God's way of saying life should go on." The irony is the same week my father died, our (then) newest grandson was born. So I know what you mean.

  33. Loved the poem, and the balloon story is amazing! It really made me tear up when your mother-in-law said she would "go pick out a good one." You'll have to let us know how the story turns out in October! Julie

  34. Julie- Glad you liked it, and I'll let y'all know when the baby comes. (The doctors say it's a girl.)

  35. Hi Susan .. what a beautiful poem, and your story of the boy balloon .. that is extraordinary .. just lovely though.

    The video and its words are quite wonderful .. so true ... I just loved them - I might use some at my mother's memorial ... we need to be reminded of the 'dash' ..

    I bet your M-I-L deserves her well earned rest .. she sounds lovely - and all those memories now enhanced by your post here ..

    Gorgeous to read .. thank you - Hilary

  36. Hilary- If you liked "The Dash", and think you might use some of it for your mother's memorial service, you might also like some of the quotes from one post back, "Sad News." Some are quite uplifting.