Monday, May 18, 2015

Inspiration from my sweet daughter Marie

It's rare over the 130+ essays on this blog for me to use this forum to tout the exploits of my children.  While I am certainly a very proud father of two wonderful kids, Bryson 16 and Marie 14, I try to reserve my expressions of parental pride for other moments and venues.   Well today I take a momentary break from that tradition to share an amazing and moving poem from my daughter.

Marie wrote this inspiring poem for a project at school, and she is referencing the illness and ultimate passing of her grandmother, Jane Firmin Saliers.  Jane passed away in 2011 and we miss here deeply.

Empty House
By Marie Levisay
May 2015

You know when you move out of a house
and you clear everything out
It's still the outside of a house you know and love
But the inside is unrecognizable
empty lacking all the personality and possessions once there?
That's what it was like when you got sick.
Before it happened, I would visit your house and make you read to me for hours.
the books I chose scattered across your weathered couch
The words floated of your tongue like beautiful songs you had written yourself.
Each winding storyline a maze only you could solve.
You'd look at me and smile before each page turn
Your big reading glasses covering your face

We went to your library and checked out books every week.
When my teacher asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said a Librarian.
Just like my grandma.

Then it started
Your memory slipping through your fingers like water
Once when we couldn't find you
I remember moms hands shaking as she called the police.
we found you down the street
we asked what you were doing
with a pained look on your face you said you didn't know
The word dementia whispered on the lips of my family
I pretended not hear the fear in their words
Your stories slipped away when you could no longer read to me.
All the words mixed up in your mind causing you to stutter and slur.
I remember the last letter you wrote when I broke my arm.
The writing was slanted and it was hard to understand but I kept it next to my bed and I'd read it when mom thought I was asleep

Your mind like a thousand broken puzzle pieces that couldn't fit back together.
When i looked into your eyes I knew you didn't know who I was
I remember when we were eating and you started choking
Mom called 911
I asked my brother what was happening
He said you forgot how to swallow
You weren't really with us anymore.

Grandpa sat me down and said death almost came last night but I didn't believe him
You couldn't  be leaving me.
You were a survivor.
Breast cancer.
Broken hip.
Growing up poor and raising 4 kids.
Losing your youngest  to an eating disorder.
Never complaining about the horrible cards life had dealt you

They say you went in your sleep.
The family said
you were in peace now.
It was good in a way that
they were relieved that you were out of your misery
but I didn't understand how it could be good if you weren't with us anymore.
And I know in the end you weren't really yourself
But an empty house is better than no house at all.

I don't know If I believe in heaven
But if there is some kind of afterlife
I hope that wherever you are
You always  remember your stories


  1. To Marie,

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your grandmother. Like you, I lost a beloved grandmother when I was very young, and a cruel disease took her away far too soon. But, over the years, I have always remembered her in my heart, and in that sense she has never left me. I remember, with love, how much she gave me, how much she taught me, and I still feel her presence in my life. Our love is too strong to be broken by death. Continue to love your grandmother, and to write poems about the love you shared with her. That love lives on, in you. God bless.

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  3. That is a lovely poem. I like it. A little bit blog
    sentimental, as for me, but do not mind about it. I`ve used to find sentimental nearly all the things, related to sincere feelings.