Cottonwood Wings

a poem for my son to read at the funeral


You might want to read this first



In the Spring, God brings forth life
Cottonwood drifts by on the wind.
We water our gardens with tears
for we have lost a dear friend.

Her kindness grew like tulips
Proud and colorful and tall
Her compassion, a vine reaching  
our lives and touching us all.

Our beloved Beverly was so
Warm-hearted, sweet, and caring
Loved her family with all her soul
Though cancer, in the end, unsparing.

A kind and quiet woman who
grew like the flowers
and paled into silence
in her last waning hours.

Her Spring was cut short,
Her candle burned low,
in God’s precious time
she knew she must go.

Though it’s hard for us
in this bountiful spring
we let go and know
God’s given her wings.


I was asked to write a poem for my son to read at his Step-mother’s funeral next week.

He is to speak at the funeral, at which time he will read the above poem, no doubt through shaky nerves (to my knowledge this will be his first “public speaking” engagement), and through a heavy wall of emotion. He is with-holding so much emotion about this whole thing.

As a mother, my heart is breaking for him. He has no memories of his life prior to her entering it. It is a terrible loss. How in the world do you honor that in a poem? Yet, this is the task I was given.

To make it simple enough for the country-folk family members to be able to appreciate, make it rhyme so it sounds to them like a poem, make it personal enough that it touches their hearts, Christian enough and reassuring enough so that they are comforted in their time of sorrow.

What an arduous task, but I wanted to do something. And this is what I do–so I hope you have enjoyed reading Cottonwood Wings. I am honored to have written it for my son. (I think it will mean a lot to him.)

(In Memoriam, Beverly Mullis; wife, mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, friend)

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My Son’s Stepmother Passed, and I am a Weepy Mess

One would think this wouldn’t affect me so, but it is complicated how our hearts handle death.

My son is in his upper twenties now, but I look back on his childhood days with a grateful, yet sometimes guilty heart. There were tough days sprinkled in with the rambunctious adventures of my firstborn. His father, Danny, and I divorced when he was just a toddler.

Danny and I fought like cats and dogs, pardon the cliche. But it was rather terrible. A grand stress in a very difficult situation. We had very different ideas about what was “ok” for our son, and what was NOT.

Insert Beverly here.

Danny met Beverly when my son was just a toddler, still, and my first impressions were, well, they are odd. Danny had been dating a LOT and this woman was nothing remotely like the young, loud-mouthed, “street-wise” messes he’d been parading by in two-week near-marital then crashing relationships.

Dragging my toddler right along with him to meet these “new mommies.”

Until Beverly. She was much older than him, very quiet, and very present. Suddenly she was there. And my toddler boy, a raging ball of happiness and energy and mischief, had a motherly presence when he was at his father’s.

When the fights between Danny and I arose; it was Beverly that took the phone, spoke calmly, always had a loving response to my fury, and stood strong in difficult moments. When there was bad news, it was often Beverly that called me. When there were concerns about my son, Beverly and I often had these conversations.

Her peaceful presence was a blessing to us all.

Now, Beverly was not a perfect person; she had her flaws of gullibility, sometimes accepting things that were not healthy or good, because she saw and loved the good in everyone. Sometimes her passivity was too much, but I respected her for her kindness and her intention.

The diagnosis of cancer, very aggressive and progressed, came less than a month ago…and now she is gone.

Yesterday at noon, this kind, compassionate, ever-present woman in my son’s life, the wife of my ex-husband (we are now friends and get along beautifully–the difficulties of raising a child together now over), mother, grandmother, and quiet, sweet-spirited woman, took her last breath riddled with cancer cells and weakness.

And I have been weepy.

She treated me with kindness, love, and compliments–even when I was unlovable.

She changed my sons diapers, bathed him, worried over him, attended with me his graduation–and for her love for my son, I am grateful.


I wish I had been there
to see you reaching out
wooden fingers
An empty casket arm
trying to bridge the space
Between your brokenness
and His glory.


I am glad He took your hand.
Your dust swept away…
may black-winged birds be light
and quick with your soul!

He’s been waiting for you.

–From In Memoriam, Christina Ward

My blessings, prayers, thoughts, tears are with my son today as he mourns his second mother, and for Danny, who very deeply mourns his wife and perfect partner today.

And I am weepy.

Hug your loved ones–and tell them what you love about them. Time is precious.

A difficult Funeral, Beautifully Expressed by Imagery-Rich Poetry

We’ve all had to attend a funeral. It is a difficult thing to do, especially when the person we love has died suddenly or at a young age or both. When I found out that my Aunt Donnise was ill and in the hospital, I went to see her. My Uncle was understandably distraught. She died a day or two later and I am told she was reaching out her hand into the air and speaking of Jesus.

During the time tWoman in Black Long-sleeved Cardiganhat this was happening in my life, a song was very popular and getting a lot of airtime on mainstream radio. This song, Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, gave me great comfort in an odd way. The poem I wrote of attending my Aunt’s funeral was greatly influenced by this song, and also by another song by my FAVORITE band of ALL TIME, Rain King by the Counting Crows. You will see in the poem a line in quotes from the My Chemical Romance song and a reference to black-winged birds from the Counting Crows song. I hope you will check out these two brilliantly written songs, and I hope you will read the following poem that I wrote about my Aunt Donnise’s funeral.

In Memoriamraven-988218_960_720

 

Giant pillars stood there
rooted in their weaknesses,
wearing their faces of sin.
Tears like ashes
spread across their cheeks.
Smiles, no one wanted
to smile.

Pillars wrapped in cloaks
of brick and color and voice.
Their stained-glass faces
depict gifts I still
don’t deserve.

(“Paint it black and take it back.”)

I walked in,
crows on my shoulders
feathers in my skin
dust pouring out of my eyes
and watched them speak of you.

I wish I had been there
to see you reaching out
wooden fingers
An empty casket arm
trying to bridge the space
Between your brokenness
and His glory.

I am glad He took your hand.

Your dust swept away…
may black-winged birds be light
and quick with your soul!

He’s been waiting for you.

If you enjoyed this original poem by Christina Ward, please leave a like and/or comment and check out these that you may enjoy:

Desperately Seeking Oblivion

Holiness ~ a poem about Grace

Gone ~ A poem

If you have written any poetry in memory of someone you love, you are welcome to add a link to a comment!! God bless, and hug your loved ones. Our time with them is short.

~Christina