Friday, December 27, 2013

Memorial to Jeanne MacKechnie

I had some weeks ago found the poem I had written for my father's memorial service in 1999 in Petersburg, Alaska. I inputted it into the computer and posted it on this blog. Today with more boxes to open, I found the poem I wrote for the funeral of  my mother who died on Mother's Day, 2000. This poem and the poem I wrote for my father, brought home in stark reality the realization that  I and my Baby Boomer generation, like the generation of my father and mother, many of whom have already entered the late, late winter of their lives, are now feeling the first chills of winter with a hint of snow in the air. I have joined the ranks, like many of my friends and associates, of new orphans, with the invincibility we all thought we possessed starting to look like the sand castle with pennants still flying but the slowing creeping, relentless tide coming closer, closer, ever so closer.

Memorial to Jeanne MacKechnie 
I stand before you in dark and somber sorrow,
To cope with this certain loss today, to somehow find the strength for tomorrow.
I cannot eulogize what I truly, truly miss,
I cannot bring back a final hug or a tender, loving kiss.
A final radiating beam of pride to see her grandson baptized,
Or the irony of "Have some more clam chowder—Mike you should
go down another size”,
A final game of cribbage, or a chance for her to hear my latest poem.
The wishes are too numerous and would make this a grieving tome.
She was a loving mother that overshadows all memorials I might try to paint,
And she said it best—-a most wonderful, happy life with no regrets and no complaints.
 I cannot bury what lives within me—from flashcards to early recitals of Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
To read, to write, to rhyme, to empathize with an Alaskan mate less goose.
A love of Alaska, wild mushrooms, bagpipes and sautéed fiddleheads,
Always ready to learn, but with independence—very, very hard to be led.
Each of us have different memories and many may be the same,
A dynamo of energy, her red hair like an eternal flame.
Maybe these are only words, but take them for what they are worth.
There must be a God to keep women like my mother for so long upon this earth.
 Each tear that marks today's unremitting grief,
 Is paid back by a river of each joyous memory and this belief...
No matter how hard my spirit may tremble, turn or toss,
An eternal joy is waiting no matter how hard is today's loss.
The boat that was always there to flee any foreboding shore,
Has finally sailed to a place where she is really needed more.
God may be all power and light, but like all healers His writing must make the angels
shake their heads,
 He has probably been waiting to taste a shaggy morel or a soft, tender fiddlehead,

 He's been waiting to hear in person—"Hot nuts--get them while you can,"

© 2000 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

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