I returned home from the holiday this year thinking about what awaits ahead, by reflecting on what lies behind. I thought of the the line from Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest. “The past is prologue.” Poetry by T.S. Eliot also comes to mind.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
There Were Stories
Like geese on the wing
I returned home.
My mother, once so young
teachers thought she was my older sister,
is now old. My father reminds her to wash her hair,
she reminds him, not once, but thrice,
“It’s time for my pills and eye drops.”
She’s blind in one eye
yet still sees clearly into our hearts. She’s our mother.
Dad is her nurse and I’m her sous chef
this Thanksgiving holiday.
Family. Drama. We talk over each other
like a Mamet play. Tension exists
where words overlap, or silence created
leaving the room midsentence.
Sometimes what’s unsaid stings the most.
We gather together out of love and tradition,
exchange news, meet new additions to the family,
a handsome young man, my niece’s partner,
we comment on inches gained and baby teeth lost
by the next generation of our family. We celebrate,
a retirement, new home, an engagement.
There were stories about the past
and plans for what’s ahead,
how the future will look as things change.
Yes, things change, we change, yet much remains the same.
Behind the aging of our skin and the children under foot,
we have our memories, our lived and shared experiences,
the legacy of our lives and the lessons we have learned,
we retell, embellish, and fill in the blanks for each other.
Fact or fiction, it’s our history, our story.
There was love, there was family, there was drama.
There were stories.