I have a very dear ninety-two-year-old friend for whom my heart aches;
She has always defined herself by her work and by what she makes.
She married as a fourteen-year-old, to one of her daddy's farmhands;
She knew he'd be a good partner after watching him work the land.
She's widowed and has buried the son who was her best friend and neighbor.
Her oldest daughter has Alzheimer's; from the nursing home her mama saved her.
But now my old and dear mountain mama has no respite from her memories.
She can't travel or make a garden, and her daughter she can't often please.
Her health is good, as is her mind; she's not sure that's a blessing
She's grateful for her life, but feels she should be eternally resting.
How is it that our families live in such loneliness and isolation,
When we are told that we have too many people living in creation?
Is it because we're afraid to honestly face each other's pain,
Knowing there is nothing we can do to make their lives whole again?