Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 85th birthday. As an awkward 20 year old newlywed, I didn’t know what to call her. Mrs. Bell felt too formal. Didn’t know if I should call her Mom. So I didn’t call her anything. It took me years to be able to call her Betty.
She loved me and loved on me. As a mother of three boys, I think she was glad to have a daughter. She always remembered birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day. She bought Key Lime pie when I visited. When she hugged me she would tell me I smelled good. This poem is for her.
August 21, 2017
The phone rang early in the murky sleep-state of morning
Packed a bag, boarded the dog, headed home
Into the day-darkness of that solar eclipse
Alabama to Florida
Ominous shadowed light dimly glowed all around me
Driving home to say goodbye
To someone who loved me unconditionally
Pulled off at a rest stop
Where a stranger loaned me his glasses
To behold this obscurity of the sun
As I looked through bleak eyes
To a future without her