“And I said to the man who stood
at the gate of the year, give me a light,
that I may tread safely into the unknown...”
Minnie Louise Haskins 1875 - 1957
‘Lights of Love’ – burning
on a hospice tree, as they did,
every year; each with their own
special message to someone
long gone from here.
Preparations made – tension
mounting; the stage all set,
Just a local radio recording,
broadcast live on Christmas Eve.
All the staff and patients,
their families and friends,
gathered round with bated
breath. Bowls of punch
and homemade mince pies...
but I was petrified. Couldn’t eat
a thing; my hands atremble –
throat, dry as the Sahara.
“It’ll be fine,” they tried
to reassure me, topping up
my glass with sparkling wine.
Then, they wheeled her in –
pretty as a picture in a favourite
crimson dress; her hands, steady
as a rock, holding a bible.
Luke, Chapter Two, verses one
to nineteen, waiting to be read...
She whispered in my ear, said,
“Calm down. Who’s reading this;
you or me? ‘Mind over matter’ –
isn’t that what you taught us?”
Just like my daughter to put me
in my place – get the last word in.
And read she did, her voice –
so loud, so clear – belying
the pain she felt inside,
and at the end, no one
was dry-eyed, as we rose
to our feet and applauded.
So, Christmas came and went,
but on that New Year’s Eve,
some three years ago now,
the road she travelled – none
could follow where she led.