Missing mom

December 22, 2011
Santa Maria Porcello Cassara
August 27, 1925 – December 22, 1999

I know you’re not really gone,
but the world definitely seems smaller.

I continue to live the life
you would have loved to have had.
Think of you and miss you every single day.

still falling for her

The phlox in the jar is softening,
from the sphere of it a blossom flutters,
and the whole sagging thing makes me think
of my mother’s flesh, when she was elderly, and it was
wilting, keeping its prettiness
in its old-fangled gentleness.
It’s as if I’m falling in love, again,
with my mother, through the gallowsglass of my
own oncoming elderliness, as if,
now that she has been gone from the earth
as many years as a witch’s familiar
has lives, I can catch glimpses of my mother, at
moments when she was alone with herself, and would
pick up her pen, and her Latinate
vocabulary, and describe what it
was like, on their last cruise, when she rose,
by invitation, from the captain’s table,
and stood beside the black, grand
Steinway, in the open ocean,
and sang. I do not need a picture to
remind me of the look on my mom’s
face, when she sang—extreme yearning,
a yearning out at the edge of what was
socially acceptable
on a ship like that, and you could also see
how happy her face was, to be looked at,
and you could see her listening to her own voice,
to hear if it started to go flat, or anything
she needed to do to get the music
to its hearers intact as itself, I am falling,
and I do not feel that there are rocks, below,
I think I may go on falling, like my own
flesh, for the rest of my life, and maybe I’ll
still be falling for my mother after
my death—or not falling but orbiting,
with her, and maybe we’ll take turns
who is the moon, and who is the earth.
~Sharon Olds

The Madonna is the uber-mother of Catholics and a big part of Catholic rituals. Ave Maria was my mother’s favorite sung prayer. It’s only fitting, since Mom was named after the Virgin Mary; her name translates literally as Saint Mary.

The German version embedded below is absolutely gorgeous. Her parish priest told me that it wasn’t suitable for her funeral Mass, but grudgingly agreed to it for late in Mass. {This is my problem with organized religion: would it have killed him to have just said “yes”?}

Turn up your volume and enjoy the peace of this lovely hymn.

Ave Maria video

The direct English translation from Schubert’s German is lovely. It differs significantly from the Hail Mary we know. Here it is:

Ave Maria! Maiden mild,
Heed your children’s prayers,
In the valley of tears, be our shield
Let my prayer waft to you.
We sleep safely until morning,
Your cloak of stars covers us.
O Maiden, see our worries,
O give peace to our hearts!
Ave Maria!
Ave Maria! Pure maidservant!
We want to trust in you faithfully
You, sweet maiden, undaunted
Full of hope, to you gaze upward,
And calmly bend God’s Will to us,
That your holy solace may drift to us.
O Maiden, full of grace, tend to us
The child, that suppliantly entreats you.
Ave Maria!

2 comments on “Missing mom
  1. Eleanor says:

    Thank you. My Mama died just 2 months ago, so my missing her is still raw and fresh and every day. The poem is beautiful.

  2. Eleanor, I am so sad for your loss. I really believe that it’s the closest relationship we can ever have and the loss cuts deep. Blessings to you.

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