You Carry Within Your Heart A Part of Us

In Memory of Mary Jane Freeman Gibler
On the cusp of Thanksgiving,
Far sooner than we thought,
Her heat of fire no longer burns.
Though snow does not yet lie upon the empty fields,
We feel the chill, the icy cold upon our hearts
When Sun passes below the hills as
We wait for winter’s own release.
Ah, Mary Jane, your stalwart spirit
Walked the Earth so long— ninety three years—
We find it hard to believe that you have gone.
Time now passes slowly every day,
Weighted down in grief.  Already your voice
Circles higher and higher out of the picture.
For years, your life captured hearts,
Held our lives in such simple ways that no matter
How long our lives will last, we will think of you
As being still at home… forever home within our hearts
Wishing you were there, and we were sitting at the table
As though young again or kneeling at your knee.
You were the steady hen, brooding over the nest,
Feeding the chicks.  You picked the fruit and
Canned the corn and sewed the zippers on,
Kept the secrets with such deliberation,
Always waiting at the right place with
Strong hands that endured through
Heat of summer and cold of winter….
Yes, you could be firm and stubborn in the
Ordering of your house in later years,
Walking to get your mail, days regulated
By such a stalwart sense of self.
We send you off with prayers and benedictions,
Trusting that in whatever long and lasting morning
Where you wake, that you will hold within your grasp
A yearning farewell kiss, and with certain knowledge
Carry within your heart a part of our hearts.
May the vision of your glimmering eyes
See a lasting golden light… warm memories held dear
Where we will be back home, back out on the farm,
Forever sitting at your knee, forever reading words
That speak to us of a world that will always be.
Oh, Mary Jane…. You abide now within our hearts
As your younger self— daughter, sister, mother, grandmother…
 Standing stalwart in the strongest breeze.
The lonely walk seems longer, and still it ends too soon.
How can we walk within the quiet timber
And not think of you among the trees? 
How can we break an egg or
Roll out a crust for a pie or
Bake an angel food cake and not feel your spirit
Hovering in the kitchen, serenely reading in the quiet hours,
Forever waiting on the edges of our hearts and dreams? 

Ah, Mary Jane, now that you have gone and
Joined your heart with God’s, you sound the echo of
Eternity and heaven  in our hearts 
Each time we think of you.


3 thoughts on “You Carry Within Your Heart A Part of Us

    • Kay, this was written for my mother, Mary Jane, and captures her spirit in ways that i could never have expressed in words. I read it at her funeral on Nov. 18 and will always be grateful to Fred (who is my cousin) for writing this tribute. Linda Stevens, Seattle, WA

  1. Yes, you are right, Kay. I have now written three poems used in funerals for my family—an uncle, an aunt and a cousin. And I’ve written two poems for friends that died in the past two years and they were also read aloud at the funerals….

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