New Summer

The following is a poem I wrote during 2014 when we found out that Mom’s metastatic breast cancer infusions and treatments were starting to fail. Not all of them, but enough to warrant her having more hospital visits than ever. We knew then that Mom’s time was slowly coming to the inevitable end; the disease would eventually take her life in the following year.

Every summer for decades, she and my dad would spend weeks in Maine in a rented cottage. It was something they loved and looked forward to each year. After Mom’s diagnosis, they thought that perhaps they shouldn’t go that year. I decided to write this poem to remind us all that all that happiness and a vacation state of mind can happen at home. (But happily, they did go to Maine that year.). The poem follows: 

This summer we’ll shake it all up

Maybe sip our wine from a coffee cup.

Instead of Maine from June til fall

We’ll stay here, and make a new summer of it all.

Instead of camping in small rooms,

We’ll sit on our steps and hear the thunder booms.

We’ll trace the boundaries of our new July

By twilight, moon and firefly.

Day trips we never took before

Will make new memories, new family lore.

We’ll drive home, happy and spent

And rest sweetly in our bedroom tent.

Life’s not always about our getaways

It’s about the way we fill our days.

Our laughter, our tears, our joys and fears

Make a rainbow ribbon of our shared years.

This summer, Scrabble games can be at home,

Let our friends come to us, in groups or alone.

A book read in the hammock on the lawn

Can be as satisfying as ocean colors at dawn.

The sea, the stars, the trees and flowers

We loved in Maine are always ours.

The pictures in our minds keep them near

Just as bright, and close, and clear.

Our own home, yard and summer sounds

Will take us through our ups and downs.

This year will be different, no doubt—

But change and hope is what life’s all about.

Summer at home will be a vase of new flowers

New adventures, new trips, more happy hours!

More love, more joy, more kisses, more hugs

More birdsong, more jokes, and more lightning bugs.

So let’s change our summer of regularity

To a new one of singularity.

Let us trade our years-old scope

For a new and shining one of love and hope.

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