Going On and Giving Away

When my children were in school and my mom was working, she gave me money each month for their hot lunch program. At the end of one school year, the kids’ cafeteria refunded six dollars, which had not been needed in May. I, in turn, gave the money back to Mom, but admitted I’d struggled over that six dollars, for it would have bought three gallons of milk.

The next time I saw Mom, she handed me an envelope containing six dollars and a note that said she was proud of me…And now she is gone from this lifetime.

No more milk money. No more homemade chili sauce or beef vegetable soup.  No more conversations or advice. No more hugs or laughter. In the spirit of a generous heart, though, comes the following poem from Meditations Before Kaddish.

When I die, give what’s left of me away
to children and old men who wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
cry for your brother walking the street beside you.
And when you need me, put your arms around anyone
and give them what you need to give me.

I want to leave you something,
something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved
and if you cannot give me away,
at least let me live in your eyes and not in your mind.

You can love me best by letting hands touch hands,
and by letting go of children that need to be free.
Love doesn’t die, people do.
So, when all that’s left of me is love,
give me away.

Going on, with love to you,

2 thoughts on “Going On and Giving Away

  1. A very interesting video indeed. Having said good-bye (unwillingly) to my mother when I was 16 I feel resonance with your posting as you grieve. The poem is wonderful and strikes a chord. Perhaps the most touching is the tremendous amount of love our mothers left us with which has generously trickled down to our children. I am still struggling with the line that says “let go of children that need to be free” . Thoughts?

  2. Dear Lisa,
    The line “let go of children that need to be free” stikes a place of undestanding in my heart and soul.
    Long befoe we lost both our children, I read a beautiful book: “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. He talks of our children as being love’s longing for life itself; we are the strong and steady bow which bends under the archer’s strength; they are the arrows which we launch into the future, aimed, but not knowing where they will fall. They belong to the future and we can never follow them, not even in our dreams.

    And then my beautiful son became very ill. I loved him with all of my being, and his pain was a dagger in my heart. His follies with marihuana use I wept over and would have given my life to see them end.

    In the end I gave his care to the power of the universe. Proving to him that I trusted his own wisdom, I stopped worrying needlessly, and told him he was wise enough, and strong enough to make his own choices , and I would support him in those decisions.

    We bring our children up, giving them all of the gifts which love and care bestow on the receiver. Finally we let them fly alone. And then they teach us the big lessons in life.

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