Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Story Poems

I believe this mistake turned out to be an enormous blessing to my family as we rallied around my mother to pull her through, once again. Certainly, this error gave me slightly over 20 months to know my mother in a new way and deepen my heart connection with her. This was not always easy. Sometimes, caring for my mother in partnership with my father could be quite funny, as he really strove to find the humor in the situation. Here is “Complaint Department.”


As I turn towards the kitchen, Pop’s voice stops me.
E: “We’ve got a complaint here.”
You’ve always got a complaint, I say.
(Joking, I hope.)

E: “No, this complaint is from our charge.
Ruth Evelyn Johnston Thompson doesn’t like
the feel of the socks you put on her.”

Okay, I’ll contact the Complaint Department.
That would be me, it seems.

At Mother’s bedside,
I kneel,
praying at the sock altar.

As my mother declined following her stroke and the accident, she never lost her dignity. My father referred to her as the Queen. We spoke of the upholstered chair where she spent most of her time as her throne. “Queen for a Day” tells how the Queen bestowed her pivotal blessings in my life.

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  1. When I talked, played, and sang of “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary” | Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century

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