Her Leaving Time

She’d been left behind by her son and husband many years before. Left to grow old without them. Legally blind. Too much effort to live. Too many pills to remember each morning. Each night.

Now, this cold autumn afternoon, lying in a hospital bed, she simply said Lillian, I’m tired. And I knew. I bent down, leaned close to her ear and whispered. I told her it was all right. Find the light, mom. They’re waiting for you. And she suddenly sat up and smiled. Eyes bright. A broad big smile. And then she flopped back and lay still. The kind male nurse who’d been at her side looked across the bedside at me. He simply nodded. And I nodded back.

golden amber leaves
blow off trees, hit closed windows
nature’s death displayed

Haibun written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Merril is our guest pub tender and asks us to write about a transition. A haibun is two or three short succinct paragraphs of prose (must be true) followed by a haiku that, in the traditional sense, contains a kigo (reference to a season).

45 thoughts on “Her Leaving Time

  1. sarahsouthwest October 29, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    Ah, she was ready to go, and you opened the door for her with your generosity. How beautiful, how moving…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 29, 2018 / 5:05 pm

      Thank you, Sarah. She brought me into this world and I was privileged to help her leave this world.


    • lillian October 29, 2018 / 5:06 pm

      Yes. I think most especially when you are very very tired and you’ve missed your son and husband for so many years. Who knows…..maybe she saw them in that moment when she sat up with the smile on her face. I shall never forget it.


  2. anmol(alias HA) October 29, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    This is tender and beautiful — the image of those leaves hitting closed windows provide a sense of closure in this passing. So emotive and moving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 29, 2018 / 5:07 pm

      Thank you for your kind words!


  3. merrildsmith October 29, 2018 / 5:02 pm

    Oh gosh–wiping tears from my eyes. This is so beautifully written, and so touching. The haiku just caps it.
    My dad fought death, and it was so difficult to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 29, 2018 / 5:08 pm

      Thank you Merrill…..for the prompt which made me remember this amazing moment between my mom and I. I shall never forget it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • merrildsmith October 29, 2018 / 5:09 pm

        I’m glad I helped. I’m sure you will never forget it! It’s wonderful you could be there to help her journey on.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Maggie C October 29, 2018 / 5:04 pm

    So touching. I’ve heard of moments like these. Thank you for sharing yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 29, 2018 / 5:09 pm

      It’s funny….my mom and I certainly had our problems over many many years. But the last year and a half of her life….we seemed to meld. She’d been missing my brother for so long — he died at only 51….and my dad had been gone for 10 years. Her words said it all….I’m tired, Lillian.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maggie C October 30, 2018 / 1:15 am

        She was fortunate to have you and you to have her. You both knew when it was time.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Jane Dougherty October 29, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    As you said, she was the one who brought you into the world, it was only right you were able to help her out of it. Very moving, Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 30, 2018 / 8:39 am

      Thank you, Jane. A tough one to write but when it was finished, a reality on the page.


  6. Glenn Buttkus October 29, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    So tender that even death hugged your Mom like a lover; really touched me with this one.I believe in death as a mere transition; I’ll be pretty disappointed if it isn’t. Your haibun is honied with perfection, and your haiku is the capper supremo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 30, 2018 / 8:40 am

      Thank you, Glenn. Her death confirmed my view that death indeed is a transition. I choose to believe that.


  7. Beverly Crawford October 29, 2018 / 7:28 pm

    I was told long ago that it is sometimes necessary to give loved ones permission to go, and I had a similar experience to that you describe with my own father. Thank you for recalling that moment, and perhaps it will be valuable to others who read your touching words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 30, 2018 / 8:42 am

      I also believe that is true. I think perhaps the reason she stayed on this earth as long as she did, after my brother and dad were gone, was that she was afraid of the other side and she worried perhaps about leaving me. Her sitting up and smiled was the most beautiful thing. I think at that moment she saw my dad and brother. That’s what I choose to believe.


  8. V.J. Knutson October 29, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    What a beautiful end of life story. We should all be so blessed with a daughter like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Grace October 29, 2018 / 8:36 pm

    A moving and touching tribute Lillian. My mom said the same thing when my sister died and I believed it gives a great relief to the one suffering in being able to let go. I like the grace of those amber leaves falling and falling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 30, 2018 / 8:44 am

      Thank you for your very kinds words here. It really is a letting go….if we’re graced to be with them at that moment.


  10. Christine Bolton October 29, 2018 / 8:37 pm

    That was so touching 🙂💕 Thank you for sharing that heartbreaking but very special moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 30, 2018 / 8:44 am

      I shall never forget that moment. Thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. rothpoetry October 29, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    What a beautifully sad and touching piece you have written. The cycle of life continues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 30, 2018 / 8:45 am

      It is a cycle…….and there is a letting go as well as a birth.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. jazzytower October 29, 2018 / 9:48 pm

    When you’re ready, you’re ready. Feels like she called it, on her own terms. Good you were there to say goodbye. A touching right Lillian.


    Liked by 1 person

  13. kim881 October 30, 2018 / 6:58 am

    I can’t hold back the tears, Lill. It reminds me of the last time I saw my mum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 30, 2018 / 8:47 am

      Oh Kim….did not mean to draw tears.
      Losing our mothers….and having the privilege of helping them as they age and ultimately go on their way to another place…..it is a privilege indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Gina October 30, 2018 / 7:55 am

    i promise i tried so hard not to cry, but i did anyway by the end of your haibun. my mum is pretty much close to this stage now, losing my dad, and then my son, she asks why she is still hanging on just like the leaves in your haiku. her sadness breaks my heart more than mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 30, 2018 / 8:50 am

      Oh Gina. I am so sorry for your losses and your sadness as you mother your mother. There is a changing of the roles…and we wish we could make everything better for them as they did when we fell down and they kissed our scratched knee. Saying a prayer for you and your mom right now.
      I felt so privileged to be with her when she died….and I truly believe that when she sat up and smiled right before the moment of her death, she saw my father and brother welcoming her. I hope you can take some comfort in my belief….it is so so hard to watch our parents struggle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gina October 30, 2018 / 8:56 am

        thank you Lillian, we have been through some really rough times together and i see her fading away. i so appreciate and welcome the prayer for her, she is a much stronger woman than i could ever be and she has been the glue that held our family together when dad so young. i do take comfort in that belief and made a similar remark on Toni’s haibun too. this comforts me more than anything else, that my dad was there to welcome my son. thank you again for taking the time to write this to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. areadingwriter October 30, 2018 / 9:58 am

    Oh this almost moved me to tears. The heartbreaking beginning. The gentle ending. This is so moving, Lill.


  16. navasolanature October 30, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    You are so brave as you allowed her to slip away without fear and into the light. And you have written this with such craft and love. Bless you both and holding you in the light.


  17. purplepeninportland October 30, 2018 / 8:57 pm

    It takes a certain courage to tell someone you love, that it is okay to leave this world. Beautifully written piece Lillian.


  18. Adda October 31, 2018 / 10:35 am

    Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.


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