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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)

By Linda Goergen


Bookends, my mother and I,
desperately trying
to hold
the book of our lives together.

For so many years
she lovingly and strongly
held up her end
and I mine,
each of us knowing
our place
and keeping it.
But now—
the hands of time
has changed our positions
and neither of us like the shifting.
We were happy
and comfortable
being left alone
in the dust of the past
that outlined
each of our spots.

Now—switched around—
we are off kilter,
leaning the wrong way,
and it has loosened
the long held— tight grip
on the precious book
between us
allowing pages to flutter
and we are
caught off guard,
as unexpected scenes
are wedged into our story.

Hurtful scenes—out of place scenes—

Mom looking at me,
stubborn, defiant,
refusing to take the medicine
I coax her to take.
But the picture is all wrong,
it should be me, the little girl,

Mom telling me she can do it
by herself,
anger dancing in her tone
—But she can’t—
and I see me, a little girl,
fighting for my independence...

Me, denying mother
what is unhealthy for her,
then discovering she sneaks it anyway...

We both want to scream—but we don’t—

We hold it in.
I don’t want to be her mother—
she doesn’t want to feel like my child—
so resentment at being reversed
rests on us both,
a fury of unfairness
dances between us—
we hate
being bookends out of place.

We want to be put back,
the way we were,
the way it had always been—
but we both know
it isn’t going to happen.
Time is a demanding, unbending master.

But thankfully, both mother and I
know a master
far greater than time.
the great and eternal Rock,
that can hold and wedge
rickety bookends
strongly in place—
and keep us standing,
striving for understanding,
and still guarding
the precious book of love
He placed between us.

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This article has been read 476 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/06/14
Oh this touched my heart and I felt the anguish, the frustration and the levels of resentment as the role reversal marching to the hands of time gone by.

This is an entry straight from your heart and I know so many "boomers" will relate to this, as many of us struggle with aging parents. I love truthful and straight from the heart entries, and this is one that I'm sure many will appreciate.

I pray that God will continue to hold you both in His powerful and loving hands! Great job.

Thank you!

God bless,
Dannie Hawley 02/06/14
Wow, did you drop into my heart today! Mom and I aren't struggling with any anger over this turn-about, but the frustration over her not understanding instructions that seem so simple to me has certainly brought me back to remembering a time when I was unable to understand what my mother meant when she said something I really wanted to do was forbidden for my own good. Trying to help her get dressed in the morning and undressed at night makes us both so sad that it's my turn to help her. I want my mother back...the strong, competent one, who always knew the right thing to do and how to do it. Instead, it's me reminding her she needs to drink her milk and use her napkin. The sadness over this reversal grips me, and your article made me cry as I identified with your MC. Thank you for the courage to tell it like it is. God be praised that I have this special time with my mother, so that she knows there really isn't anything I wouldn't do for her, just as it has always been for me until the passing of years caught up with her mind. You've done a great job on this piece.
Ellen Carr 02/07/14
You have written this beautifully as you poignantly tell of the struggle to deal with the changes of aging and mother-daughter relationship. Most moving. Well done!
Colin Swann02/11/14
A unique approach to the topic - very creative, and well writtten. Thanks!
Toni Hammer02/11/14
Poignant and articulate. I'll be praying for you two. How blessed you both are to have Jesus.
Wendy B McLain 02/12/14
Very touching! Makes me feel like crying.

Many who read this will surely appreciate the kindred spirit of all daughters who face this ordeal with their beloved mothers.

I pray your story will help encourage those who are dealing with this issue in their own lives right now.

God bless~
Danielle King 02/13/14
Poignant and written straight from the heart. A very deserving win. Congratulations Linda.
C D Swanson 02/13/14
Congratulations Linda! I'm so happy for you!

God bless~
Francy Judge 02/14/14
This is beautiful! Congratulations! I love how you used bookends as a metaphor for mom and daughter's changing relationship. I could feel the frustration as the books get jostled. Working in a nursing home, I see many families experience this emotional change.
Bea Edwards 02/17/14
Your entry rings heartrendingly true, yet has a wonderful ending holding the mom and daughter together. Well done.
Beth LaBuff 02/20/14
Linda, This has a beautiful message and is quite exquisitely written. I can see this so clearly. Congrats on your award.