Friday, May 6, 2011

poetry friday: learning to hate

i've never understood racism. i've never understood how two people don't like each other based on outward appearance. growing up in south florida i was surrounded by people who looked different than me. but i was lucky. the person who raised me never saw the difference. my father didn't see color. he didn't see nationality. he didn't see social standing. he just saw people. plain and simple. black and white. for him there were no gray areas. people were people. period. end of sentence. because he never treated anyone different, my sister and i never grew up thinking there was a separation between any of us. because he never thought twice about helping everyone, my sister and i never grew up thinking anyone was better than anyone else. we were the lucky ones. because our father saw the value in everyone and he instilled that way of living and thinking into our lives and into our hearts.

i wrote this poem shortly after high school because i realized early that everyone wasn't taught to believe like we did. not everyone was taught that skin color and nationality and social standing didn't matter. parents actually-with their words and actions-taught their children to hate. and i hated it. i hated-and still hate-everything about it.

though the words are decades old, the message still rings true to me. i hope you feel the same.

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same window, different view

i've never felt so lonely, so frightened and so sad,
until the day i opened up the paper that i had.
the front page read, "it's useless, we're not trying anymore",
the second said, "forget it, we will never win the war".
i didn't understand at first, until i read each line,
and then i knew, without a doubt, that we were out of time.
the world as we knew it, would never be the same,
people and their troubles, found someone else to blame.
no one says, "i'm sorry" for their pride gets in the way,
no one stops to realize the price that will be paid.
for we ourselves won't suffer when the fighting has begun,
it's our children who will live with all the things that we have done.
the hate that runs right through us, will never find an end,
when we'd rather have an enemy, than try to make a friend.
two people who may look alike, are not the same inside,
it's a fact that everyone should know, sometimes we just don't try.
the world would be a better place, if everybody knew,
i'm not like you, you're not like me, same window...different view.

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i pray that i always remember not to look at someone's appearance, but to stay focused on their heart...










Monday, May 2, 2011

my mom died today

      part of her never wonders
        just as part of her never forgets
        the last image in a six year old's mind
        of a mother she never got to know
        25 years later
        as her own life approaches the last 
        of her mother's days
        she remembers the little things
        and mentally prepares to die.

        after all...one doesn't outlive their mother do they?
   
        (taken from my journal - written a few years before i turned 37)
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may 2, 1975 at 2:30 in the morning, my mom took her last breath. thirty-six years ago today, at the age of 37, in a one bedroom apartment in lantana, florida, patricia ann foley laquay died in her sleep. i was six years old. my sister was seven.

i didn't understand at the time what death was of course. to me death meant someone would be gone for awhile but they'd be back. at six years old i didn't understand never. i didn't know that i'd never see her again. i didn't know death was final.

i didn't know my life was forever altered. that i would miss her. that i would grow up wondering about her. that i would live with questions about her that would never be answered.  

i didn't know that her dying at 37 would mean that i'd struggle one day to want children of my own. that i wouldn't be able to promise anyone "i'll always be here for you", when i knew first hand it was a promise you can't always keep.

i didn't know that i would hate when my friend's fought with their moms. that i would think they were crazy to take for granted the luxury of having a mother. that i would shake my head and think it wasn't fair that they had a mom and i didn't.
 
i didn't know that i wouldn't have anyone to show me about the girl things in life. that i would have to tell my dad the first time i got my period. that i would never be able to sign my mom up to be class mom or help with girl scouts.

i didn't know that i would fear turning 37 myself. that i would wonder if i was going to die too. that i would have a tremendous amount of guilt for outliving my mother.

the day my mom died i didn't know then that i'd spend my whole life without a mother. that i'd never look at the world the same as everyone else. that i'd spend years pretending it didn't matter.

at six years old there were a lot of things i didn't know. there were a lot of things i wasn't ready for. but somehow, amidst the fear, and the guilt, and the struggling,  i still grew up. i still lived past 37. i still survived.

though i never really knew my mom, she was one of the greatest teacher's i've ever had. her death at such a young age taught me -at such a young age- that life is fragile,  and short, and temporary. it taught me to not take people for granted. to say what you feel. to not be embarrassed to hug or to cry or to love. 

her death taught me that life is short and that people are important. her death taught me that we all have inside of us more strength than we think. her death taught me that God is real.

thirty six years ago today my mom died and my life was forever changed. i'll always miss her. i'll always wish i had a chance to know her. i'll always wish she hadn't died. but i'll never regret who i became because of her. 

there's a part of my mom that lives on inside of me. a part of her that still teaches me about life. a part of her, that though i never knew it and though i never knew her, was really a part of that six year old girl all along.











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