Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Lost Medal

She aspired to sainthood and succeeded - the one dream realized during her lifetime.  

It was common knowledge. Everyone knew she walked the walk: never gossiping, never complaining, never exalting herself above others.  Living her faith day by day, and bearing the fruits of a selfless heart.    

A few tangible things remain in my possession as keepsakes of her: the crepe orchid dress with the gossamer jacket she wore to church.  It still hangs in my room, seven years later.  

No one else I know is worthy of a dress so lovely and delicate.  Goodwill or the Salvation Army Thrift Store would be pleased to receive it, I’m sure.  Any woman would love looking so church-proper and elegant.  But how can I part with this symbol of her truest pleasure: her weekly sabbatical from slave labor.                 

Then there’s her journal with roses on the cover.  The book containing remnants of her life, dreams that never came to fruition for whatever reason.  With eight siblings in her family of origin, college was out of the question.  A teaching career forbidden.   

Another aspiration of hers: to become a writer.  The following story is found in her journal, which I converted to poetry and third person. 

Today is her birthday.  She would have been ninety-three.  Happy birthday Mother. 
This poem is for you.


For Nellie

In late sun one afternoon she rakes and sifts
Through fallen leaves, hunting determinedly
Underneath the apple tree
Where she believes her missing medal to be –
The one received in school for best writer.
But time has bound her hands to domestic duty:
Endless sweeping, cooking, laundry –
Stuck in a common
Quandary, yet a time-honored
And noble vocation. 
Some call it sacrifice
To abandon one’s own voice and vision
For obligation.  Therefore she stashes
In her black scrapbook her daughter’s verses,
Esteeming each poem a literary jewel.
And trusts that her only girl will
Someday find her mother’s lost medal.


  1. Deb,

    What a wonderful tribute to your mother and also an example for your children. Keep her dream alive.....

  2. Debra...that was beautiful! It made me get teary eyed because your mother seemed like such a source of inspiration and light to the lives of those in her family.
    When it comes to the beautiful poem...I think many women who sacrifice their dreams in the pursuit of staying home with their children and weaving a tapestry of instruction, encouragement, nourishment, stability and memories for their family can relate.
    What a beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for sharing.
    ~blessings in Christ,

  3. I love the way you write, Debra. Beautiful and inspirational:) I'll be stopping by more often now I know where to find you. x


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