Friday, December 18, 2009

Annie's sister-in-law

as the year winds down, there is loss, not only of sunlight, but relationships, health, mood--this is a poem in tribute to CFS dance teacher Annie's close family member, a person assaulted by serious health issues

Kathy Godleski Dwyer

I sit down
and release my own agendas till later,
I start to make the little leaps into understanding
by asking about the facts: names, places, connections,
I look deep into Annie’s eyes
and listen deep to her with my heart, and my head,

and I start to see her,
the third sister, brother Tom’s wife,
Kathy Godleski Dwyer,
she who holds the families together--
the hub of the larger Dwyer connections,
the hub of her family of origin,
the hub of her nuclear family as it grows:
with two daughters, 4 granddaughters, 1 grandson,
nothing more important to her than time with
husband, daughters, grandchildren,
ah, those special first months and years!
yet all the connections are special to her:
no one better at remembering birthdays, favorite foods,
getting you the right gift at the right time,
the one who calls you, the one whom you call,
a Christmas party every year, everyone welcome and treasured,
the family reunion every summer,
the one who holds all the history, who knows all the anecdotes,
the homemaker who seems to be made for turning house into home,
I hear of 9 houses Kathy has transformed into home,
redoing kitchen and yard, finding the right paint,
all the ways to nest so that Tom can come home,
so that her kids can grow up in the home
she feels should be everyone’s birthright,
no wonder her children live so close, stay so close,
wherever her relations move and live
they feel the pull to return to where Kathy calls home,

her connection to her parents-in-law powerful enough
that her mother-in-law considered her as daughter
and that her father-in-law opened-up enough
to describe her as “almost like family,”

the Southerner in me is intrigued by her honest realness
that realness that we here in the South can too easily forget--
as she tells it like it is, letting out the reaction
while still holding true to the connection,
a sharp wit, no pretense, no hidden agenda,
able to laugh heartily at herself,

a deep wisdom as she is close to her own heart and thus to others,

as I see her fuller and fuller,
I see the creator, the gardener who plants, grows, savors,
she who quilts and crochets, to create and then to give away,
she who knows how to make a home,
she who knows how to dress well,
she who knows how to live well and fully,

and, through it all, Kathy and Tom have both been lucky
to have found each other so early
and to have devoted themselves to each other so fully,

I have learned that anyone who has been close to Kathy has been blessed,
and those of us who have not are lesser for that absence.

by Henry Walker
December 16, ‘09

No comments: