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Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Rose for my Grandmother

I wanted to post this Poem and Pondering yesterday, but never seemed to have a spare moment.  I'm posting anyway because it's never too late for a reflection on love.

My grandmother died on February 14th  so it's only natural that I think of her in a special way every Valentine's Day. Childhood memories of my grandmother are enhanced by the many stories my mother shared about her mother. Most of these stories centered on my grandmother's faith. Your grandmother loved God, my mother would say. She would die for her faith. 

On Valentine's Day, our  focus on romantic love is misleading.  The following poem written by my mother for her own beloved mother reminds us that romantic love is but one petal in this fragrant and mysterious flower.  

A Poem for Rose Martorano
written with love
   by her daughter
Helen Grace

My mother's hands
were lovely and strong
and never idle for very long.

My mother's hands
would cook, clean and sew,
pray Our Lady's beads
or knead the dough.

My mother's hands
toiled extra hard
ceaselessly giving
glory to God.

My mother's hands
grew wrinkled with age,
and painfully fluttered
when she turned the last page.

My mother's hands
now fold in repose
And heaven embraces
God's newest Rose.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Dolphins Cycling Challenge ~ We Did It!

Team Barb, Post Ride, in all our Pink-for-Barb Pride
Those of you who read my blog regularly have already met my sister-in-law Barb Burg who died this past April (Remembering Barb Burg). You  also know that in her honor, my husband Marc and I planned to ride 25 miles in the Dolphins Cycling Challenge to help raise money for cancer research (The Dolphins Cycling Challenge ~ Riding for Barb). This past weekend Team Barb raised more than 125K ~ 100% of which will donated to cancer research.

Though it was stressed that the DDC is a ride, not a race, some of the people with whom I cycled were well-trained athletes who sped by me in sleek biking outfits (rider on the left, rider on the left).  Most riders were not athletes, but even these riders (in outfits not quite as sleek) pedaled by me. When I wasn't huffing, puffing, pulling to the right, or wondering if a change in gear might be helpful, I thought about Barb.

I kept returning to one brief conversation that we had long before needles, catheters and ports entered our vocabulary, when we talked of movies, books and my own literary endeavors. We were sitting on her soft nubbly couch surrounded by books. One doesn't need to write a bestseller. Barb reminded me. Do you know how many people tell me that they want to write a book but never do? Every book written is an accomplishment.

One doesn't need to write a bestseller, I told myself as I pedaled and pushed, pedaled and puffed, as I switched from fourth to fifth and back down to third and avoided looking too far into the endless road ahead.  Every ride completed is an accomplishment. 

I believe I was the last of the pink Team Barbs to finish the ride. I wasn't the sleekest or the fastest on the team, but I was on the team and I crossed the finish line.  

I rode in memory of my amazing sister-in-law Barb and for all of us who love and miss her.  I rode for people I don't know who every day face cancer with profound courage and quiet dignity. I rode with the hope that we will one day eradicate this devastating disease.

Thanks to all of you who supported Team Barb with words, thoughts, donations and prayers. Each of you made a difference. Thanks to my husband Marc who slowed his own pace to keep me company ~ and to all those teammates who wouldn't cross the finish line without me. Most of all, thanks to Barb Burg whose courageous voice continues to motivate and encourage all of us to keep pedaling even when the road gets bumpy and steep.

Happy riders: Marc, me, Paula and David