A bit of background for this poem: My aunt Cathy, who died October 20, 2005, lived the 54 years of her life completely dependent on others for her care. She was profoundly mentally retarded having the capacity of about a nine month old baby. My whole life I’ve wondered what she would be like once we were in Heaven and she had her perfect mind and body. That is the inspiration behind the poem as well as a desire to honor the people who loved her and cared for her – particularly my grandmother.
For Aunt Cathy
In modest respect both Sun and Rain tucked themselves away;
The day she left us aptly clothed itself in white and gray.
From childhood on I’ve wondered just how would Aunt Cathy be
Once we were beyond the skies, in Heaven’s glory.
Would she have hair long, raven brown? Would she keep her milky skin?
Would she see all of the angels as her old familiar friends?
Would she be boisterous, or quiet; would she be sassy or be sweet?
Would she give us the old love pats, or her classic tight squeeze?
More than how she’ll look or act, I wonder what she’ll say.
I can imagine now that it might go this way:
“I wanted to scoop Charli up and squeeze her chubby thighs!”
“I wanted to do laps around the kitchen with the guys!”
“I wanted to dance with Maggie and draw pictures with Si-Si.”
“I wanted to build lego ships and have adventures with Spidey.”
Would she say that she enjoyed the Cannon ladies’ constant chatter?
Would she say she had her very own opinion on a matter?
All those are just my little musings on what Aunt Cathy’d say,
But I think I can speak for her when I try today
To honor a few on her behalf who loved her even though
She could do very little to personally let you know –
“Thank you, my dear brother who fought on my behalf,
For hours on the phone for me with good-intentioned staff.”
“You knew that one day might come when I would be with you.
In private you bore the burden of discerning what to do.”
“No one else could get the nurses, therapists, bed, and chair.”
“Only God and I now know what you went through for my care.”
“Thank you dearest sister that I have ever known.
I will not forget the greatness of the love you’ve shown.”
“You dressed me, and you fed me; you stayed with me night and day,
You cried out for mercy on my behalf, and I could hear you pray.”
“You took upon yourself my care, though hard it was indeed,
Can you hear echoes of One saying, ‘you have done it Unto Me.’?”
If Cathy were most eloquent with the most brilliant mind
I think it still would be very difficult to find
The words to express gratitude to one who loved her dearly
The one who demonstrated God’s love for her most clearly.
She might say:
“Mom, I was a special gift that God entrusted to
A family that could love me, a mother who would view
“Me as her sweet darlin’; her angel from above.
I always felt your joy in me; I always felt your love.
“Thank you for our morning coffee, the coke and ice cream
“Thank you for the hand to hold however tight I squeezed.”
“Thank you for sleeping by my side for fifty-four years
Thank you for comforting me and wiping away my tears.”
“Thank you for the care you gave, that only can compare;
with the care that I receive now that I am not there.”
“If only I could tell the world all that you’ve had to do.
If only I could whisper in your ear, how much I love you.”
I could keep going on and on imagining Aunt Cathy’s words,
But any attempt I make would be lacking for those who heard.
But God’s voice will be heard because the Bible speaks to us today,
If you have ears to listen, Grandma, I think you’ll hear Him say:
“Your children rise up and call you blessed; your husband also saw
That many have done nobly, but you surpass them all.” Pro. 31:28,29
“You are My good and faithful servant; faithful with my special one.
You will enter into My joy. You will hear me say, Well Done.” Mt.25:21