Author Archive

Submission to Mother Loss Poetry

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2009 by Amy Corrigan Flynn

A bright, orange beta fish glides and swirls inside a fish bowl in long graceful movements, its fins like long, sheer, satin ribbons on a stick caressing the air and mesmerizing anyone who dares to stare long enough.  As the beta rounds the curve of the bowl, death skirts in and then out of room 319 in Calvary Hospice at 5:23 a.m., July 23rd leaving a body in its quake. 

Around 4:25 a.m., I unintentionally fall asleep for an hour on a cot next to my mother’s bed.  I drift off to the hushed tone of my brother’s voice.  He begins ushering our mother forward, telling her that it is time to let go, time to move on, as he holds her hand from a winged back chair next to her bed. This is not what he had planned to do, nor even knew how to do.

He tries to get my attention by tossing a shoe in my direction when it becomes clear to him that she is letting go, but I do not respond.

“Amy, it’s time.  Amy.  Amy.”  I hear him say.

I jump out of the cot and stand next to him.  Together, for a moment, we hold our mother’s hand and watch our mother slip away.

“She’s gone, she’s really gone,” one of us said.

“Something else, some other force helped me through that,” my brother said.

The constant span of the horizon dressed in a dark, vast, tinted blue hue is before me, all around.  It hugs the players of this scene and drapes the background of the ruins.  The marble rubble underfoot is disguised as a hospital gown, a mechanical hospice bed and a multitude of plastic, sterile devices used for drinking and rinsing.  And, lest I forget, there is a dead body, my mother’s dead body, inches away from me.   I can almost see her spirit soar, turn back for an instant, quickly, lovingly, and then bolt away to a place that I can not go or get the directions to. 

Looking down, I touch her hair and fixate on her teeth.  They are like gates clamped shut – no entry allowed, a “shop closed” sign.  With each passing moment she looks younger and more vacant and expressionless, her body transforms into an empty suit.

Emily Post never wrote about how to get through moments like this.  Though, if I consulted any “expert” on ceremony and circumstance, in this case, I’d have leaned more toward Hunter S. Thompson. 

Grace floods my spirit – I feel transported to what feels like a stadium, the giant Parthenon, after the Games during Roman Empire perhaps, long after the crowds disperse after a bone-crushing victory, the riotous sounds fading and dissolving into a thick, hollowed hum that glides on top of the wind.   The Games represent my mother’s life, not the cancer that managed to swallow her whole within 24 days. 

My head tells me that I should be shouting “No! No!” resisting the finality of her death, yet my heart feels differently.  I feel relief.  She is out of pain, out of the limiting body that she was dealt. 

Somewhere she is soaring, I think to myself, free of confinement and the crude existential crisis of being thrust human 54 years prior to this moment; her life was never easy. 

I am aware of my feelings of deep, abiding love for her.  To hear her last breath, to bear witness to this moment with my younger brother who shepherded her out of this life so gently is a rare gift and it gives me pause.  I am on sacred ground.

We call our siblings and stay with our Mom for 25 minutes as dawn breaks. 

We walk to the nurse’s station and inform our mother’s nurse.  A 6 foot, 2 inch-tall medical doctor accompanies us back the room with one kelly green wall and the fish bowl containing the bright, orange beta fish. 

The doctor takes out his stethoscope, listens for a moment, pulls the instrument out of his ears and lays it on the table.  He walks over to me, looks me in the eyes and says with gusto, “Your mother is dead.”  This pronouncement is his bit part in every play.  He performs it well.  I nod in acceptance, with grace even though he tells me something I already know.

Dictation from my inner 6 year old – Random stream of conscience …caught in a net

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2009 by Amy Corrigan Flynn

Dr. Liebner: Childhood pediatrician. Shiny skin on top of his head. Silver rimmed glasses.  Competent. Sterile demeanor.  Starched white overcoat. Clinical garb. Flaring nostrils. Humble yet stern demeanor. Ear hair (grey). Authoritative. Scary. Trustworthy with a syringe. . Guardian of health and physical well-being. Ear piercer. Nose and throat invader. Wooden toys in waiting room. Could be God. Weird art.

Girl Scouts: Basement. Dank. Cold. Hungry. After school. Softball. Thursdays. Patches for valiant behavior and deeds. Crafts. Glue smell(not elmers – some other cakey stuff). Parades. Pride. Brownie sash – filled with patches. Beret. Pride! Camping in cabin. Costume parties. Colette. Natalie. Bonnie. Sandy. Carol. Wendy. Jennifer. Christine. Karen (of course). Dues. Hunger. Unwelcome healthy snacks.

Dancing school: Ms. Carol. Tap shoes. Ballet shoes. Somersalts. Backbends. Cartwheels. Mirror. Pirouet. Costumes. Fittings. Pirate. Butterfly. Charleston dancer. Florescent lights. Victoria’s pizza. First position. Arabesque. Crumbly black rubber mats (for acrobatics). Munchkin. Compare. Practice. Leotard. Bodysuit. Ballet bar. Recital. Photo flash. Smile. Stage. Performance. Parents. Grace.

Maryann.  Artist.  Teacher.  Purveyor of magical laughter and fun.. An earth-bound fairy – on loan to me and my siblings.

Engaged

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 14, 2008 by Amy Corrigan Flynn

 

Extensively pensively

 

Affirmatively

Absolutely

Certainly

Unequivocally

Definitely

Not maybe or

Quite possibly

 

But only in Nothing is there Certainty

Spring

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2008 by Amy Corrigan Flynn

Ken Keyes Jr. said:
“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror.”

^I’ve found that to be so true. 

The good news is that you can change how you view anything and with that, your inner compass changes too.  It’s always an inside job. 

Peace

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2007 by Amy Corrigan Flynn

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(Bruno Baumann)

A column of sunlight stretches across a room
It illuminates
Intoxicates
Reveberates
Until there is Peace.

There is Peace.

I had lost it in Silence
Where it sometimes lays, waiting
Tucked in dark corners
Inside of a heart.

p.s.: Austerity is stifling.

Remembering

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2007 by Amy Corrigan Flynn

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Remembrance, Alma Zecevic

The anguish experienced 6 years ago in lower Manhattan on this date is difficult to describe. The magnitude of the destruction that occurred on that day is perhaps immeasureable; it had quite a ripple effect on humanity in general, never mind how it effected specific families.

In an effort to counter some of the effects of that day and to commemorate it, we’re being called to give of ourselves in some way by doing a “good deed.”

Henry Miller ~

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2007 by Amy Corrigan Flynn

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“The world would only begin to get something of value from me the moment I stopped being a serious member of society and became-myself.”
Henry Miller, from Henry Miller on Writing, p. 26

Henry Miller was insanely committed to living a life that involved unveiling the depths of his experience on earth and sharing it as a creative artist in the form of words. Words were his bricks – he piled them one on top of the other until they became Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn.

How could I come one step closer to being a less serious member of society?  My unemployment status post graduation weighed on my mind but….

nevertheless,

…I painted. Midnight blue, kelly green, yellow, pumpkin orange, and chocolate brown swept across the sheet of paper from a tiny brush.

It wasn’t long before I felt like an irresponsible slacker – “you can’t be serious! you need to look for a job!” said the committee in my head who had convened emergently at the sight of the paint, paper and brush. Soon I found myself putting down the brush. By rote, I took out the laptop and began filing out an online application for a job at a corporation – something I thought I’d never do again.

Without meaning to conduct an experiment this afternoon, I had a very tiny taste of Mr. Miller’s struggle to go against the tide (aka, society) when I decided to act on the inspiration I received from Mr. Miller’s courage to be true to himself. He describes the struggle as feeling as though he’d been caught in a net.

“…I never worried about the genius…My concern was always for the nobody, the man who is lost in the shuffle, the man who is so common, so ordinary, that his presence isn’t even noticed.”
(p. 22)

“What I secretly longed for was to disentangle myself of all those lives which had woven themselves into the pattern of my own life and were making my destiny a part of theirs. to shake myself free of these accumulating experiences which were mine only by force of inertia required a violent effort. Now and then I lunged and tore at the net, but only to become more emeshed.” (p. 27)

He persisted in his effort to disentangle himself and the literary world is better because of it.

Today I learned that every moment is a new opportunity to commit to something that makes me feel alive.