Poetry: hi, mom

he climbs tall swaying trees
all the way to the top. i eat
handfuls of unsalted almonds
with bites of banana while reading
book after book. sun-kissed, my
toes press into the soft green
grass. freckled shoulders out. “hi 
mom,” he calls. i wave back
all smiles. my naive trust
easily covers fear. i lean into

full moons, rainbow wishes, fairy
protectors. i believe my love
will shield him from harm. but
it doesn’t. once. and then twice.
i drink sugary coffee in hospital
rooms while staring at tiny bright
screens. shoulders slumped. “hi
mom,” he calls beneath many
bloody bandages. with a fake
smile i tell him everything will

be okay. home. darkness. healing
comes. i sneak candy nightly
hoping it will shrink fear. it 
doesn’t. my body swells. aches. 
i pull away from everyone. hiding
panic with manic activity. secretly
building giant blame barriers. “hi
mom,” he calls but i don’t hear
him. i don’t want to. walls protect
right? but i am lonely in my padded

cell. sunshine bursts through swaying
trees. they miss him too. but fear
stopped the climbing. we circle
each other arguing. forgetting nose
kisses but not bloody faces. time
moves so fast. too fast. his blue cap 
and gown sits on my dresser. “hi
mom,” he says. i listen. we eat
seedy crackers while our shoulders
touch. can trust regrow after fear?


Note: I’m attempting to use poetry as part of my healing process. I will return to short stories and the Shoebox Poetry series soon. Thank you for reading and supporting me during this transition time. It’s long overdue.

80 thoughts on “Poetry: hi, mom

    • Thank you for reading it. It’s been a few years but it feels like both of my son’s accidents happened just yesterday. He still has reoccurring migraines and lots of scars (internal and external). He’s on his healing journey and I’ve got to be on mine. My body needs me to stop living in fear.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you so much, Heather. It’s been a few years since the last big accident, but my body keeps reacting as if it was yesterday. We are moving through healing (him and me), but it still feels raw. I’m hoping writing it out more and talking about it will help this anxiety ease.

      Liked by 5 people

  1. Bridgette, it’s amazing how you are able to craft poetry to beautifully bring side-by-side the past with the present, the wished-for with the what-one-wishes-could-be-undone-but-is-not-possible, and all with of those with what you are moving towards. This poem is so personal, and also universal–the aphorism about being a parent means forever wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve is true but doesn’t cover how we learn to do that in a way that isn’t fear-driven.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you for such a thoughtful and generous comment, Ali. Yes, I think everyone can relate to worrying about our children and learning we have to let go as they get older (and that means letting the fear go too). My son is 18 now (gasp) and I know he needs to make his own way. Isn’t it weird how we still see all the versions of them? Sometimes he will make a face and I swear that little goofy 8-year-old is staring at me!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Nicole. It’s been a rough road and one I could never have predicted. Sometimes I get so caught up in the “it’s not fair” stuff, but I’m learning that doesn’t help me (or them) at all. We did survive. They are pretty amazing humans. I don’t think I’ll ever forget all the hard stuff, but I’d like to stop feeling it in my body all the time. I’d like to be able to focus on the survival part. The hope and future part. There’s so much to look forward to.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Ashley. You are very right. I’ve never loved anyone like I love my kids and when they hurt…it breaks me. Every time. I’m working on finding a way to heal my wounds so I can continue to support them as they heal their own.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s no guilt quite like a mother’s, and it’s so debilitating when those old lingering anxieties resurface. You were there for him when he needed you after the accident, and got him the help he needed to heal. You’re a fantastic mother & this was a beautiful way of coming to terms with all those conflicting emotions. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for such a beautiful and kind comment. I was there for him. That’s not something I often focus on, but I should. We’ve weathered these storms together and although sometimes we’ve been fractured, we still can sit side-by-side and chat. He still makes me laugh. He still gives me a hug before bed every night. We could have broke through all this, but we didn’t. I’m not sure I can ask for more than that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Poetry has and continues to heal. Your poignant words help you touch, reveal, and study at arm’s length things that hurt too much when they’re closer. Right? Funny, isn’t it, that writers turn to writing when they are in times of crisis? I’m glad to see you’re taking a full-on sabbatical. Hang in there!

    Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks! Yes, I don’t believe I could stop writing if I wanted to. I journaled so much through my son’s accidents, but I don’t think the pain will end until I start to find new threads of healing—and that’s what writing helps me do. I love this quote by David McCullough: “Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.” And I would add—and so necessary.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Writing down your thoughts and fears is a great way to help heal! Thanks for sharing with others,, it helps me just reading thru this,, prayers to your family for continues healing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Irene. Writing really does help with the healing and so do these comments and the wonderful conversations I’ve had here. I appreciate your prayers and kindness so much. ❤️

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    • It really is hard. Healing our internal wounds takes so much longer than any external ones. Our minds like to replay trauma and mull over the “what ifs.” Maybe part of the healing includes realizing how little control we have…maybe that is where I find solace. What’s that saying, we can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we react. I’m working on trusting he will be okay again. It’s hard.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The more and more my mental health gets, the more I mull over the fact my mom may not be okay. It’s been very hard dealing with my dad’s health problems that I over analyze what’s going on with my mom. I know it upsets her, but I have bad health anxiety and it’s getting worse.

        I’ve used a lot of my stories and writings for control and it helps, but once I close out of the app, I have to deal with the chaos of life and usually I handle it okay, but it’s gotten worse out of my control.😩😓

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m sorry your anxiety has gotten worse and out of control. Remember, your mom may be struggling but she would never want you to worry about her (as a mom, I know this). Trust she is on her own path of healing and you concentrate on yours. The world needs your art and your voice. <>

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Writing and writing poetry most definitely helps with the healing process. 💗 I would like to send you a copy of the book we use in narrative therapy workshops. I think you would find it useful and meaningful. If you are interested, just email me through my contact page. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Now that’s a portrait. But yikes! I’d break real bad falling from there.

    Bridgette my friend, this is good and purposeful writing. Like good writing does, it does not call attention to itself. Good writing cares about what it wants to say. You know I think how I feel about self expression. You done good. To be vulnerable is to be more able, more response-able.

    I am no parent, so I’m not your equal that way. But I am a child and I had a parent. There is a real manner in which a parent must let the child go, let them have their life AND their consequences. That is a big deal. My teacher has said, in life you are free to do anything, anything except escape the consequences. Don’t mean you as parent won’t feel the pain of their lives. You will. All that matters, and this is my belief, is that we “respond” with love. What’s the other choice.

    As ever I am honored that you allow me and us to listen, hear how the experience is for you. Work to be nice to yourself. Please.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Neil. Your words are wise and comforting. When my kids were little I parented with the philosophy of “natural consequences.” You don’t want to eat what I cooked, you go hungry. You don’t want to wear your coat, you are cold. Of course, there were limits to this (I didn’t let them do anything like run into the road). I felt the restrictions placed on me as a child of a very over-protective parent inhibited my ability to grow. I also became a perfectionist who did things to please others and didn’t really know what I thought of myself. I wanted my kids to have a strong internal consciousness and to know why they do things (not just because I say so).

      Both my kids have this in spades. They know who they are. They are confident but also they don’t buy into the systems of society…which means I have to watch them fight a lot. My son won’t take it when a teacher unfairly treats him or other students with disrespect or unfairness. My daughter takes on the troubles of the world and feels them in her bones. It’s a painful consequence of raising them to be independent thinkers.

      I did let them push quite a few limits when small (like climbing tall trees or rocks), but I felt okay with those choices because they always seemed so capable. They listened to their bodies and never once had an injury in nature. Both my son’s accidents involved roads, cars, and people who were not so aware of themselves.

      I think part of my healing will have to be separating both my kid’s healing journeys from my own. They have complex feelings about the world and what happened to them and I can’t fix that for them.

      Thanks for giving me more to think about and for being such a great support.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Bridgette for making this even more clear. If asked, I’d say you are an exceptional mother. Maybe yes, you could just be more kind to yourself. As you do seem to be doing. Attend what you need attend, what nurtures you, and allow the rest to be as water and flow away. I pray to be a worthy friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Prayers are to your family for continues healing. So powerful words written in poem. And you sharing yourself story. Beautiful poetry side by side the past with present. This poem is personal, & emotional, Bridgette 🤠
    Nice picture.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My mom built walls to keep herself from getting hurt. She’d had a tough life from an early age and building walls was her coping mechanism. And they worked very well for her. The problem with walls, though, is nothing gets in to cause harm but nothing gets out, either. We were always on the outside waiting for a crack in those walls she built. It never came.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for sharing this. That’s what I don’t want to do. I’ve always been so close to my kids but the recent traumas have caused me to pull away (for fear of breaking more). It’s been very complicated between my son and I. He’s at the age he needs to pull away, but I’ve been scared to let him for fear he will get hurt again. We are both on our own healing journey and I have to make sure I don’t just build a wall between us and walk away. It’s so hard.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s really not my business, Bridgette, but if you are open to it I would suggest you start going to family counseling, if you aren’t already. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to who is not directly involved with the family. A lot also depends on the age of your son. Being a mom is extremely difficult and no matter how hard we try we can’t protect our kids 24/7. I know you already realize this but sometimes it bears repeating. Letting go knowing your son might get hurt again is almost an impossible situation to live with. My sons are adult men with families of their own and I still worry about them. There are options for you; please don’t feel like you have to tackle this on your own. One of the best things I ever did was to talk to a counselor about my panic attacks. She didn’t cure me but she helped me find the right path and I no longer have panic attacks. Everyone here on WP and all your other friends mean well but eventually you’re going to have to listen to one voice and that one voice will be your own. Blessings on you and your family. ❣️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your kindness ❤️ I was in therapy for about 5 years, but I had to quit because we can’t afford it with my daughter’s mental health struggles (she’s got several specialists). Believe me, I know the importance and value of a good therapist. I miss mine terribly. I dealt with some of these struggles with my therapist, but the last few years my anxiety has ramped up and up. I’ve started some medication through my doc. Right now I really think it’s almost a PTSD response-where I am waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I’m working on calming my nerves so I can remember the old me who trusted and leaned in first with love.

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  9. My mom had a lot of anxiety, and it affected how she parented me, but, she also loved me so much, and that helped balance things out. The older I get, the more that I understand her actions and concerns, and I see more how love also shaped those actions.

    All in all, this is a beautifully powerful poem. I appreciate the honesty in it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing that with me. I’m working on trusting my kids will be okay again, but it’s a hard thing after they’ve been hurt badly. I’m glad you felt that your mother’s love balanced out her anxiety. I hope my kids feel the same.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Roy. I think this is as close as I’ve come to explaining what the last few years have been like parenting my son. It’s been rough, but he graduates from high school in a few weeks and I couldn’t be prouder.

      Liked by 1 person

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