Sorrow and the Scarlet Leaf

A few years ago I gave Mom a little box that held index cards I had personalized with her name. Apparently she continued to use the box to keep quotes she liked, story ideas,  notes about books she loved or that friends had recommended. Dad asked me if I wanted to bring it home with me. What a little treasure box it turned out to be. I gave it to her filled with blank note cards, and she gave it back to me filled with thoughtful little treasures from her heart. Sometimes, when I want some words of wisdom from my Mom, I’ll open the box and pull out a random card to see “what my Mom wants to say” to me today.

Today, I plucked out this one and found it particularly poignant. I thought I’d share it with all of you on her website. I’m sure she saved it in reference to the book she had written called “Dread Autumn.” (or was it called Firethorn?).

Sorrow and the scarlet leaf,
Sad thoughts and sunny weather;
Ah me! this glory and this grief
Agree not well together.

(T. W. Parsons – A Song for September)

The full text of the poem can be found here. But Mom wrote down just that one short verse.

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There is another quote that I found repeated on many cards in this box, and also tucked into several books. This one I find particularly powerful, because she had written it so many times and it was obviously (and very literally) ‘words she lived by.”

I am afflicted, but not crushed;
Perplexed but not despairing;
Struck down but not destroyed.

(2 Corinthians 4)

Mom’s Message to Us



The prayer card Mom chose.Well, tomorrow it will be a month since Mom left us. I was feeling pretty sad this morning and happened to come across the prayer card Mom picked out when she was making advance arrangements. While she didn’t write the poem, I’m told that she changed it a little bit to her liking. I read the card today and remembered that these were the words she wanted us to read when we were grieving. I thought I would post it here for anyone who hasn’t read it or might want to read it again:

To Those I Love & Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many years.

I gave you my love. You can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it’s time I traveled alone.

So grieve a while for me if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part.
So bless the memories with your heart.

I won’t be far away, for life goes on
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near
And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear
All of my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile, and “Welcome Home.”

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I’m always remembering now, bits of advice that Mom has given me over the years. This one pops into my head a lot lately: At one difficult point in my life, I was talking to my Mom on the telephone and she asked how I was doing. I told her I was doing okay, except that I would get very weepy and down when I listened to one particular song on the stereo. My mom gave me these simple instructions: “Don’t listen to that song anymore.”
Problem solved, I guess! She wasn’t being unsympathetic; just optimistic and practical. It makes me smile every time I think of it. It reminds me of that joke “Doctor, it hurts when I do this…”

Mimi