hope, living, moments, nature

Rose of Mary


Rose of Mary

by Carmen H Gray

Dew of the sea

Rose of Mary

I saw a brand new fairy

On a wilder walk today

He fluttered around the fragrant bouquet

Amidst the palest blue bloom

Heavenly scent, verdantly strewn

Transformation before my eyes

A sign of promise in disguise

And off he went without a thought

Of the wondrous gift that he had brought



letting go, living, moments, nature, new year


file-21 (1)


by Carmen H Gray

This morning’s misty rain

Reminded me

That in these last two new days of the year

So much has been gently cleansed

The kind of purification that you might not even notice

Like walking down that same hallway

In that once familiar building

That housed so many hopes and fears and tears

But this time

It was a singular experience

In the extraordinary world

Today’s rain on the bamboo

Greeted me like an old friend

On my porch

Unlike the day before

living, moments, time

My Son

Your Journey with Me

by Carmen H Gray

When you were growing inside me, your Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather both left this world on the same day.

I witnessed my mother’s mother’s exit, standing close to her and holding her hand. I looked into her fearful eyes and I said in my mind, “Let go, all will be well,” for she had reservations and was sad she would miss meeting you here. She acquiesced. Family gathered around her in the room my mother had lovingly created for her final resting place. We sang Amazing Grace to her spirit and my mother cleaned her body before calling the hospice staff.  Her body was tiny.  It was a beautiful and proper Tejano good-bye, with song and expression.  I was filled with many emotions, but the time to release them had to be postponed, because that same afternoon, my father’s father was also leaving and we all journeyed to his home next.

When we arrived, he was in the room where I had often played with dolls and my cousins as a little girl.  His wife was sitting next to him, holding his hand, and reassuring him of his peaceful journey.  She had always been the soothing force in all of our lives.  Most of my aunts and uncles and many of my cousins were all there.  Some, with their own children.  I watched my father cry and saw the tears of many of my aunts and uncles.  Some of them more English proper (stalwart, private in the emotional realm) than others, as that was how they had been raised.  When he left that afternoon, the house was burgeoning with loved ones and neighbors.  As I sat in the kitchen, holding my little cousin Claire on my lap, I felt the first butterfly movements of you.

Five months later, you arrived.  You came a whole month earlier than you were supposed to, you couldn’t wait to join everyone here.  And you came just days before your Great Grandfather’s November birthday, as if you were saying to us all, “He is with me”.

living, moments, writing

Las Orugas Monarcas Oct 14, 2014 8:34pm

I am seeing life through new eyes, just like Ava.  I think we shared an unspoken first moment of “we need to give back” right after the diagnosis.  It’s like my friend, Susanna Sharpe mentioned, you just feel this deep need to do more for others after cancer.The other day before I headed to the hospital to be with Ava, I stopped by Half Price Books to grab something to read (not like I have a stack of books already needing to be read!).  While I was there, I could hear a woman having a very loud conversation with her companion over the store phone.  I looked around.  Everyone was just ignoring her, not making any eye contact.  It reminded me of the time in San Francisco when we were on a bus and a woman was complaining loudly about feeling ignored and my son, Pierce, gave her his seat and locked eyes with her, listening to her frustrations and nodding at her.  Telling her, “I know”. Just affirming her feelings, which changed her composure.  Something we don’t really do much for each other.  People just get louder and more frustrated when they feel they are not heard.Something about her compelled me to linger nearby as I made my purchase. She left the store with her two kids and was walking toward the Goodwill.  I followed her and saw tears on her cheeks.  I called to her, “I only have five dollars to give you.  I wish I could give you more and I know you haven’t even asked for it, but I just know you need it.” She looked at me with kind eyes and she cried more.  She hugged me.  I’m sure we were quite a sight to passersby.  This tall six foot woman and petite me telling her,  “It’s going to be okay”.  We parted our separate ways.  Who knows what troubles she was having, who knows what troubles anyone you see is having.  We only have each other.  We have to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers.  I know this now more than I ever knew before.

Today at school in the gardens a few of my students found some monarch butterfly caterpillars.  They cried out, “Mira, maestra, mira las orugas monarcas!” and showed me four fat yellow and black striped caterpillars.  Always a source of surprise and excitement, witnessing the stages of metamorphosis in nature.  A blessing, really.  We are so busy we often don’t pay attention to these important things, but children do.