Strangers, Mothers, and Orphans



We come into the life of a stranger

with all the helpless fury

of a storm in an aquarium.

Frail and weak, we are unable to

perform the most basic

tasks needed for survival.

But within moments of our first meeting

the stranger has taken us to her breast

and allowed us to drink from the

fountain of her heart.


In a life full of busy days

she will make us the

center of her universe.

Her every waking

awakened

moment

will be spent trying to understand

the urgent needs and rantings

of the newcomer

who doesn’t yet speak the language.

We will come to know her as

our protector;

our teacher;

our biggest fan;

our Mother.


She will teach us and learn from us.

She will lead us and chase after us.

She will hold us back and encourage us to move forward.

She will scold and fret and cheer us on from the sidelines.


Somewhere in the midst of life,

she will lose her own

Mother

and Father.

An orphan, she will move up

a branch

in the family tree

and get settled there.


For a time, we will allow ourselves to believe

that she will always be there,

one branch above,

watching over us.

But there will come a day when,

frail and weak,

she is unable to

perform any of the most basic

tasks needed for her survival.


In a life full of busy days

we will make room

for her to revolve

in our universe.

We will try to understand

the urgent needs

and frightened rantings

of this beloved stranger

who is losing the ability

to speak the language.

We will become her protector.

We will lead her

and encourage her to move forward.


Somewhere in the midst of life,

we will lose her.

We will become the orphan.

We will move up

a branch

in the family tree

and get settled there

and always remember

with gratitude,

the beautiful stranger

we came to call

Mother


Written in 2010 for my caregiver website, "Don't Lose Heart."

Copyright 2022 ©Jean Fogelberg

Please do not re-post or print without express permission.