My beautiful precious mom, Marlene Marks Kornick, died in 2020. Her death was made more painful because she declined during the global pandemic, when it was impossible to fly across the country to visit.
I have been writing poems to her –
Dear Mom –
I hereby dedicate every laundry folding to you,
and every drawer newly organized –
I promise I will slow down –
because I have finally figured out that that is how you became the most beautiful folder.
When you would visit us –
You would organize our kitchen drawers,
and help fold the laundry into beautiful neat packages,
you would clean my jewelry until it sparkled
and write lists of the cleaning supplies I should get (you asked – how do you not have Bar Keeper’s Friend?)…
When you would leave,
our house would feel graced by your presence
not only by the memories we would create together,
but just by opening the laundry closet or the kitchen drawers
and seeing your beautiful handiwork.
And I, always in a big rush, with little kids, and then big kids,
could never make the towels and sheets and drawers so neat and beautiful.
But last night,
as I folded our laundry,
with tears in my eyes,
I decided to channel you.
I s.l.o.w.e.d my movements down,
and folded with intention, with consciousness,
to bring care and attention to each item,
and as I did, Mom, you were with me.
I think of you, now, in the most ordinary of daily tasks
made sacred in your absence.
MaryAnn Malkoff says
This is a beautiful tribute to your mother! How wonderful that you mindfulness can be used with laundry or with bringing intention to any task. Once a mom with five told me the only time she gets to herself is at the kitchen sink. So she decided to really, really enjoy the dish washing experience and she set up her space with some music, scented dish soap and towels that dried “just right.” The task changed from a chore, to a pleasure. It changed her life and then mine too.
David E. Dillman says
I feel I know your mother a bit now, Jill, and through that I am getting to know you a bit as well. That fastidious devotion to do a simple thing so well, that it leaves a mark upon the World, is a profound gift to the World. I will never fold my towels again without thinking of your mother, and you, again. With apologies to your mother and you, I must admit that I will never master king size fitted sheets.
My grandfather was as devoted to food preparation. Slicing strawberries, for example, became a meditation and devotional for him to his God and his family, whom he was feeding. He never said that to me. He showed that to me. Since his passing nearly 50 years ago, I have learned more loving details of his early life that guide me in my own to this day.
By word and by example, these souls have taught us to find joy in simple things as the hymn, scriptures and an observant life wisely teach. The peace to be found in prayer, can also be found in folding a towel, slicing a strawberry over cereal, and cleaning a countertop. Who knew? The wise did.
I lost my mom in June. I have a hole in my heart, that will never heal. My mom would come for visits and for however long she was here would fold the laundry. My oldest daughter remembers Nana showing her how to organize her drawers and closets. Mom would ask her later I phone calls if she was keeping it up. Liv would fib and tell her yes. Mom would giggle knowing it was a tall tale. Thank you for this. Now I’m going to fold towels
Carole Ivy says
I “felt” every loving word and appreciate the visual of formerly mundane tasks now filled with amazing Grace. Marlene had so much love to give, she infused it in everything she touched to make your life easier, as only a mother can do. You and your beautiful Mom shared a rare and precious gift, which will sustain and comfort you moving forward. A beautiful poem I’m so happy you’ve shared with us. Thank You!
Gail Sussman-Miller says
I came to read this poem in a circuitous fashion. Having recently discovered you and your spiritual insights and teachings, I shared one of your earlier posts about the narrow bridge with my sister. She spent time on your site and found this reading and shared it with me.
We lost our mom 25 years ago this month. I think of her when I use her kitchen implements and now I have a vision of other ways I can bring her memory to me in simple ways. I love how you modeled transforming mundane and sometimes tedious daily tasks into ritual.
Your deep gratitude, sensitivity, loving heart and devotion to your mom is so strong. May it give you strength as you shift from a relationship of presence to a relationship of memory ❤️.