Call me a sentimental pregnant woman, but my dad wrote this poem about his mom, who passed away on February 3, 2003. She was one of my best friends, and a true inspiration to me. I spent the afternoon with my grandfather the other day, and he played me "Bluebird of Happiness," which was their song, and so of course I've been thinking of her. (He also gave me a beautiful, illustrated Complete Works of William Shakespeare, because I'm his "Shakespeare girl." I love you, Grandpa--you are the most gracious.)
YOU WERE THERE
(A poem dedicated to my dearest mother, Colleen Keeler Jones)
A clear and sunny springtime morn’; it’s nineteen fifty-one,
Your firstborn son takes his first breath; life’s journey has begun.
You must have been so happy, you must have been so scared,
You must have been a lot of things, but for me, you were there.
I don’t recall the first few years, the bumps and spills I took,
But I know all about it ‘cause I read it in your book.
You sang to me and held me close and smoothed my tousled hair.
My tear-filled eyes gazed up at you and knew that you were there.
I know how hard it must have been to leave your mountain home,
And move your family here and there and oft’ times all alone.
You made each move in love and faith and humble fervent prayer,
And wrapped your heart around each child and always, you were there.
It must have been so bitter sweet to help your oldest son,
Endure the tough and trying years; your work was never done.
I fought so hard to make the grade without much grace or flair.
You understood, I prayed you would, I hoped that you’d be there.
I wanted so to be someone, to make a mark someday.
You built me up and calmed me down and smiled my fears away.
So many nights you waited late so I’d come home to share
An earful of my hopes and dreams; I knew that you’d be there.
You nurtured and prepared me to make a love launched quest,
To islands halfway ‘round the world, to teach and grow and bless.
Your tireless, earnest patience and your faithfulness so rare,
Traversed the boundless oceans and I felt your spirit there.
And when I came back home to you, transformed from boy to man,
Your radiant, joyous, proud-eyed smile was waiting once again.
Because you stood and showed the way, my future path was clear.
I forged ahead in faith formed steps and found your footprints there.
You cheered me through my triumphs, and then in my darkest days,
You held my hand and dried my tears and loved my pain away.
And though at times my inner grief seemed more than I could bear,
You somehow sensed just how I felt, I’d call and you’d be there.
And once I’d finally found my timeless love, my sweetest soul,
You met us in a hallowed place; I knew your heart was full.
I knew it for I saw your shining eyes, your joyful tear.
I knew how much it meant to you that all of us were there.
So, little girl from little town who hoped her life to be
Somebody who the world would love and laud and want to see,
Somebody rich who lived a life as big as any star,
So when she’d walk down any street you’d see a star right there.
Yet, all who knew you loved you and will ever praise your name.
Your celebrated love endures beyond mere earthly fame.
Each grandchild as a precious gem adorns your crown so fair.
Each holds within, your priceless love; each heart can feel you there.
I often marvel as I lay and think of you at night
How gracious was our Father’s love to bless me with your light.
Of all Our Father’s spirits you became my mother dear.
And though now I don’t remember it, I know that we were there.
With patience we were waiting there on preexistent shores,
The time when we could all go down and pass through earthly doors.
You left, but soon I followed you with heavenly knowledge sure,
That I would soon be born to you and know that you were there.
From that day forth until the day I stood there by your bed,
And held your hand and quietly spoke some words we’d left unsaid,
And watched you smile through final pains, I knew you were aware
That I was yours and you were mine; we shared sweets moments there.
I wept and watched and asked our Heavenly Father for His will
Regarding you my life-long friend who lived and loved so well.
He touched my soul; I felt at peace, no doubting nor despair.
I felt our Father reach for you; you knew that He’d be there.
And once you’d finally gone with Him I sensed your pure delight
As you renewed eternal ties with loved ones dressed in white.
I wanted to be with you then to share that grand affair.
Oh, what a sweet rejoicing as they welcomed you back there.
And so, my sweet somebody, shining now resplendent star,
I can feel your light and love, and long to go there where you are.
And I know you’re watching o’er me and I know how much you care,
And I know when I come home again, as always you’ll be there.