If I had the power to turn back the clock,
Go Back to that house at the end of the block—
That house that was HOME when I was a kid,
I know that I’d love it more now than I did.
If I could be back there at my mother’s knee,
And hear once again all the things she told me,
I’d listen as I never listened before,
For she knew so well just what life had in store.
And all the advice my dad use to give,
His voice I’ll remember as long as I live;
But it didn’t seem really important then;
What I’d give just to live it all over again.
And what I’d give for the chance I once had,
To do so much more for my mother and dad;
To give them more joy and a little less pain;
A little more sunshine—a little less rain.
But the years roll on and we cannot go back,
Whether we were born in a mansion or in a shack;
But we can start right now—in the hour that’s here,
Tod do something more for the ones we hold dear.
This poem was posted on Facebook a few days ago. As I read it, the words tugged at my heart, pulling up old memories. I didn’t know how I’d use it, but I knew I needed to tuck it away and share it in one of my stories.
I was going through old photos in search of a picture that matched the emotions I felt as I read the poem. Tucked away was this little blurry picture of our house on First Street in Traer, Iowa. 606 First Street, to be exact. The person in the front yard is my sister, Beth. The shadowy person at the front door is my precious Gram. Interesting, today was the first time I’d looked at this photo closely since they’ve both passed away. I have to say, it gives me a very different type of perspective and a strong underlying melancholy.
This was the house I remember being at my Mom’s knee. These were the days she had time to tell me the stories of how she met my Dad and what happened when my sisters and I were born. This was the house of making homemade soups, sneaking those fresh-cut egg noodles, cutting up fresh strawberries, devouring watermelon, shucking sweet corn, surviving home perms, and trying to sit still for home manicures followed by Mom’s red fingernail polish. This house was the home full of special little things, good times, and happy memories.
As I wrote my story today, I felt the need for some words of comfort and wisdom from my newest counselor, Rabbi Levy. I think I found just the right thing to share.
I haven’t forgotten you, even though it’s been some time now since I’ve seen your face, touched your hand, heard your voice. You are with me all the time. I used to think you left me. I know better now. You come to me. Sometimes in fleeting moments, I feel your presence close by. But I still miss you. And nothing, no person, no joy, no accomplishment, no distraction, not even God, can fill the gaping hole your absence has left in my life. But mixed together with all my sadness, there is a great joy for having known you. I want to thank you for the time we shared, for the love you gave, for the wisdom you spread. Thank you for the magnificent moments and for the ordinary ones too. There was beauty in our simplicity. Holiness in our unspectacular days. And I will carry the lessons you taught me always. Your life has ended, but your light can never be extinguished. It continues to shine upon me even on the darkest nights and illuminates my way. I light this candle in your honor and in your memory. May God bless you as you have blessed me with love, with grace, and with peace. Amen.
Levy, Naomi. Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, and Celebration (p. 222). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.