I am humbled and pleased to tell you that my poem “Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks” won Publication of the Month of January/February at Spillwords! Thank you for your votes! The poem will appear in the right sidebar widget this month, March 2022, as you can see if you click the link below.
Your support shows that we do not walk alone in this world. When we reach out to others, they reach back. I’m so grateful.
Thank you, Dagmara and your editing team, for this opportunity!
The poem is from my as yet unpublished poetic memoir of me and my mother, who had Alzheimer’s. I was her main caregiver.
My memoir explores the many ways in which our lives were entangled. We both experiences brain injuries that burned away memories- hers from Alzheimer’s and mine from encephalitis. And as she cared for me when I almost died from measles encephalitis at age 6 going on 7, I cared for her as Alzheimer’s slowly dissolved her brain.
Also, as the eldest daughter, I was second mommy in command, helping her with the four youngest, who were born between 1958 and 1961! A toddler in diapers, a set of twins, and the last baby. She almost died giving birth to her last, so I enlisted to help with baby care as it took her a year to recover. However, I didn’t know at that time that I was infertile because Mom took diethylstilbestrol (DES) when I was in vitro. My memoir explores the many facets of the ”mother wound” (hers, mine, and ours).
At issue in the memoir is the question my uncle asked me when I told him Mom was moving to be near me. ”Do you love her?”
His question threw me into a crisis. Did I have reasons NOT to love her? How could I care for her otherwise? What had I done to make him doubt my love for her? Was I not a good daughter?
The memoir also explores other triggers. I knew it would be impossible for Mom to live with me for various reasons. My husband and I worked full time, and she couldn’t be alone. I found her a nice independent living facility, where she thrived. Still, had I abandoned her? No, but I think she expected that I would care for her like she did her mother-in-law, who lived with us after experiencing a stroke.
Then, when Mom needed even more care, my brother and I moved her to assisted living, and she was unhappy about that. Regardless of where she lived, I had to be vigilant as problems always came up with her care. I was grateful that she was close and I could watch over her, but I always doubted myself.
This poem is about letting go of the past. Releasing the traumas that bound us together. It’s also about forgiving her and myself for our imperfections.
So this year, I hope to find a publisher for my collection, which I currently call “Three-Penny Memories”. And the reason for this title is another story and too long for this post.
Again, thank you all for your readership and support!