It’s Momma

They say there are only two sure things in life; death and taxes. Neither are any fun, but the former is the most painful, especially when one you love stands on the threshold and waits for the door to open. Letting go is never easy, but when the end is near for a loved one you’ve known your entire life–a parent–and you know it, there is no deeper cut.

It’s Momma


She goes to see her often these days

The reports are never good

Sometimes better than the last one

But she knows–we know–the time draws near

We talk about how it’s for the best

At least she won’t suffer any more

Just trying to be strong… get ready to let her go


She’s visiting her today

Said she needed to talk to her alone

Decisions about care need to be made

She wants to make sure she understands

What hospice and other words mean

Her mind is still sharp, she says

But… I think… she’s just tired of hurting


I can’t imagine how it must feel

To say those words… to see it coming

The dark storm gathering

The funnel cloud of death descending

Knowing you can’t stop it

Any more than you can stop the phone from ringing

Or the tears from falling… when the day comes


Each time the phone rings

I look at her, and she looks at me

We know one day it will ring; she’ll answer

A voice on the other end will speak

And I’ll know… before she even hangs up the phone

Before she lifts her tear-filled eyes to mine

Before she says the words…

It’s Momma…


Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn

I wrote this poem this morning  after Sherry left to visit her Momma in Houston. When I saw Claudia’s prompt for the dVerse Poets Pub’s Poetics feature, I couldn’t believe the prompt; “Letting Go”. I waited until Sherry got home, so she could read it and tell me it was okay to post it.


  1. dang man…hard to even think on…seeing our parents pass into old age and beyond…those thoughts every time the phone rings…appreciate the time you have with her while you do…i am glad she is going to see her…it is good for both i imagine..

  2. My heart to yours, I’m at a loss for words…thank you for sharing
    one of the deepest and hardest losses a person has to bear.
    To Sherry and you, may memories of happy times with Momma bring
    peace to your hearts and souls. I am so sorry.
    Peace and love,

  3. Lovely share Charles ~ It must heart breaking to wait and hear the words ~ I like the metaphor of the dark clouds gathering, a foreboding in the distance ~

  4. heidi said

    Okay, you made me cry. This poem hit home. I love the build-up to the phone call that hasn’t happened yet, but you know it will. You have illustrated what can be so cruel for family members: the waiting, the anxiety, the uncertainty, the dread. Finally, that she’s “Momma”, not “mom” or “mother” emphsizes how childlike and vulnerable we can be in this situation. (and that y’all are also southern)

  5. Charles, this spoke so loudly to me. Bless you guys.

  6. zongrik said

    can’t stop the phone from ringing or the tears from falling, i can relate to that.

    prima donna cat fight

  7. …a delicate write filled with heavy emotions… and i can only sigh… what tough times to go through .. i intially thought of home care for the aged when i read this and that saddens me more.

    good day!

  8. They leave too soon ~ too soon

  9. This is very moving. You use such simple words, such a conversational style, and yet manage to convey all the unspoken and dreaded. Maybe it’s the ellipsis…

    • Thank you for the kind words. My writings–poetry, stories, articles, encouragements, and novels–are usually written in the same voice I speak with. I am simple in my approach to life, and tend to write in a simple conversational tone, as if I am talking to the reader, or telling him/her a story face-to-face.
      Thank you again for the visit and comment!

  10. Hi Charles, so awful to know those calls are coming. As you may know, I’ve been very involved in the care, even long-distance, of my parents–a fair amount of rushing back and forth–and it is truly terrible to get these things. I have been in situations of immediately rushing for a plane – kind of awful, but I feel lucky that I’ve had the flexibility when it counted.

    (One typo – I think you mean “former” at the beginning rather than “latter?” This confused me anyway for a minute.) Thanks for heartfelt poem. k.

    • Thanks for catching the mess-up, k! I appreciate it!
      Yes, I am aware of your situation, and feel your pain. I am on the outside looking in at ours, but amuch invested, as when Sherry is hurting, I am hurting, too.
      Thanks for the visit and comment.

  11. claudia said

    i understand now that you first wanted to ask sherry if it’s ok to post…def. a moving write hard to know how that final letting go is coming closer and closer….sending blessings your way..

    • Yes, not something I wanted her to just “find” on my blog or get in and email.
      Thanks, Claudia.

  12. Mary said

    I’ve been there, Charles. You captured the feelings/experience as it is. One of the most difficult things. You know the call will come. It’s inevitable, so very hard to prepare to let go.

  13. The fear of death is one very hard to let go off.

  14. Those phone calls, that waiting == very tough.
    Tears or relief? What are we allowed to feel?

  15. lucychili said

    argh i am so not ready for that. i guess noone is.

    • Not something we can truly ever be ready for.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Lucy.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment! We love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: