Monday, November 16, 2020


On this third day of the November 5 Day OpenWrite with Dr. Sarah J. Donovan's Ethical ELA, the poetry inspiration was about 'receiving,' thinking about what I need most and how that might change things. When I sat down to write, I unexpectedly landed in reflection about my father's death. This poem emerged:

I sat alongside you 

in mask and face shield

your last three weeks

holding and stroking your hand

listening to the playlist

I made for you

on the long car drive to your bedside

I sat alongside you

whispering love and comfort

reminding of our childhood antics 

reassuring you of this life well lived

imagining Mom and Grandpa

waiting on the other side

I sat alongside you

in the nursing home

in this pandemic

thankful for this precious time together

I asked you

is there more?

how might you let me know?

come back to me somehow?

would you try?

will there be a sign?

I sit now

waiting to receive.

Moon or sun?

Wind or rain?

Bird or butterfly?

Fallen tree on the forest path?




Here are the comments I received on the Ethical ELA website:

Barb Edler

Maureen, oh my gosh, I totally love your poem. I can feel your desire for that sign. What a wonderful gift you gave in being there for your beloved (grandmother?). The beauty of the end is heart-wrenching, and your final three words are so powerful! Tears! I hope you receive your sign!!! Hugs!

Maureen Young Ingram My father died. Thank you for this!

Barb Edler

Maureen, thanks for your note. I’m so sorry for your loss!

Glenda M. Funk

Your words are so ethereal, and I know cathartic for you. Your poem is a lovely companion to Susie’s. There’s an inherent peacefulness to this time w/ your father, and to the waiting. Sending love and light to you.

gayle sands

Maureen—You alongside me. Beauty and love. Your soft, loving poem for your grandmother touched me. So glad you could be there for her—and for you.

Emily Cohn

This one got me “right in the feels” as the kids would say. I really connected with your last two stanzas, and that hope/wish for a sign, a connection. Really beautifully done.

Susie Morice

Oh, Maureen – losing your dad .. and now during these crappy Covid months is just a heartbreaker. The gentle holding of his hand was the most poignant image. The questions in the last half are very real as we make sense of the loss. The sense that loss feels final but our hearts carry so much more. Those signs sneak up in us. It always surprises me, and I kinda like that. I sure am sorry you had this loss during this crummy isolating time. Hugs, Susie

Nancy White

Maureen, my heart is breaking. I know what loss is and the waiting to receive a sign. “ I sit now
waiting to receive.
Moon or sun?
Wind or rain?
Bird or butterfly?
Fallen tree on the forest path?”
This struck a deep chord in me. Signs do come along the way; I think you will see them. Blessings and peace to you! 

Stacey Joy

Whew, Maureen, this is a powerful poem. I feel so many emotions in the first stanza that reminded me of the end of days with my loved ones. But your second stanza is magical and special because it calls for supernatural power. It can happen. I believe. Thank you for sharing such an intimate time with us.

Gail Aldous

Maureen, such beauty, power, and, emotion in your poem. I relate to your words because I lost my mother a little over a year ago. I remember waiting for signs. I love your whole poem, but “Moon or sun? Wind or rain? Bird or butterfly?
Fallen tree on the forest path? you alongside me” goes right to my heart. Wow.

Gail Aldous

Maureen, I also want to say I am sorry for the loss of your father. I also want to say thank you for your sharing healing poem.

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