Monday, January 10, 2011

The Weight of Words

Yesterday I was listening to NRP on the way to church.  On Being was the program that was being aired.  The guest of the day was Elizabeth Alexander, the poet who read a poem at Obama's inauguration in 2009.  Now, poetry isn't something I naturally get, but I've been more intentional as of late to read poetry regularly.  What Alexander said in this program explained why.  She said that when she writes poetry it's all intuition.  When she stood up to do a sound check at the inauguration, she recited a poem  about building apartments in Chicago, and the crowd grew silent.  It wasn't Alexander's voice that silenced them, but the words they were hearing. It's as if their beings were longing for what their brains couldn't give them, words set in poetry that communicated what they knew only in their guts to be true.  Words that affect.

My bedtime reading changed in the fall and winter of this last year, to no longer be of novels that allowed me to leave my reality, but instead novels and memoirs whose words aroused affect.  The words on the pages read more like poetry, and they felt true, and more then once I wept because I felt known in the words.

So, here's a poem, a haiku, because it's one form of poetry that I'm able to easily write.

Beautiful woman,
not because of how she looks;
much deeper within

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sometimes Death Hurts Less

On New Year's Day around 11 a.m. my grandma, otherwise known as Gram, passed away.  She was 99 years old.  In October she suffered a significant stroke that sort of signaled the beginning of the end of her life.  I think most of us thought she would live forever.

When my dad told me she had died, I felt relief.  Since, I have felt sorrow.  I don't want to in any way trivialize her life or her death, but at 99, after almost all of her friends had died, her hearing and eyesight dwindling, and unable to walk or speak as she once did due to the stroke, I have a feeling her last breath was more of a deep sigh that began true rest.  She was welcomed to the other side, where I am sure that the sparkle returned to her eyes.

I find I am more happy for her than I am sad for myself and for her children who are feeling the loss of their mother in a way I cannot imagine.

Below is her obituary.

Donia Talsma

Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 1:13 AM CST
SPRINGFIELD — Memorial services for Donia Talsma, 99, of Springfield will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at the Friedensberg Bible Church in rural Avon. Crosby-Jaeger Funeral Home in Springfield is in charge of arrangements.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, that friends and family donate to Samaritans Purse, Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607.

Donia Elva Talsma, daughter of Peter and Amalia (Dirks) Unruh, was born September 10, 1911 at her parents’ home in rural Avon, SD in Bon Homme County. She died peacefully at her home in rural Springfield on January 1, 2011. Donia attained the age of 99 years, three months and 22 days.

Donia was privileged to have graduated from Springfield High School. She married Ray Talsma at her parents’ home in rural Avon on September 1, 1931. Nine children were blessed to their union. Donia was a hard working, loving wife, mother and farm/ranch helper. Her husband died September 20, 1974.

Donia had been a member of Friedensberg Bible Church and Grace Bible Church.

Donia loved gardening and reading her Bible. She will be remembered for gathering her children together and reading Bible stories and encouraging her children and grandchildren in their Christian faith. Donia spent time every day in prayer and meditation on the Word of God, praying specifically for her family, our nation and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was a true prayer warrior.

Thankful for having shared her life are her children: Joyce Lukkes of Springfield; Merle and wife Sharon of Iona, SD; Mollie Nichols and husband Wayne of Wray, CO; Rose Adema of Winthrop, MN; John and wife Gladys; Pete and wife Tommie; Larry and wife Georgia, all of Springfield; Robert and wife Mary of Norfolk, NE; and Lyla Brandt and husband Dennis of Avon; 26 grandchildren; 42 great grandchildren; nine great-great grandchildren; sister Alda (Unruh) Ferwerda and husband Bill of Springfield; and sister-in-law, Grace (Unruh) Hemeyer of Spearfish..

Donia was preceded in death by her husband; parents; brother Wally Unruh; sister Delphia at age four; granddaughters: Tanya Talsma and Kay Brandt; great grandson JD Corfield; and daughter-in-law Shirley Talsma.

Yankton Press & Dakotan