My mother died this past May at the age of 82. We were always very close, and it was a terrible thing for me to see her declining and just shutting down bit by bit. But we had plenty of time together in those last months, and everything that needed to be said, by both of us, had the opportunity to come out in its own good time. I disclosed to her and Dad 4 years ago, and she had been a solid rock of support for me.
Anyway, I have been helping my Dad go through her things, deciding what to keep, what to give to this or that person, and so on. And in the course of that work we of course keep finding little tokens and mementos that shed light on some part of her life. We also keep finding things she was doing to reach out to the rest of us.
One of them was this little prayer, which is written in her faltering handwriting from her last months. It's in an envelope addressed, "For Larry on his birthday" (she died 6 days before that), also in her handwriting. I have no idea if it's her work or whether she saw it somewhere, but I like it and thought I would share it with you. It shows how well she knew her son!
Let me slow down.
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a
Vision of the eternal reach of time.
Amidst the confusion of my day,
Give me the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Relieve the tensions of my nerves with
The soothing music of the singing streams
That live on in my memory.
Help me to appreciate the magical
Restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art of taking minute
Vacations to slow down
To look at a flower,
To chat with an old friend or make a new one,
To pat a stray dog,
To watch a spider build a web,
To smile at a child,
Or to read from a good book.
Remind me each day that the race
Is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life
Than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward into the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me. (Woody Guthrie)