For Dora Mae Ellington

Fifty-six years ago you gave birth to me.

So much of my past has fallen silent.
Pale images float unheeded through my memories,
faces places amassing anonymously,
from one moment to the next, indistinguishable
leaving me—what?—less than I am perhaps.

But I remember your smile, so full,
your heart so rich and reaching out,
ever offering warmth and comfort
to friends and family and indeed
to anyone you might chance upon.

For that was precisely who you were—
a woman of such love and kindness,
always mindful of the needs of others,
always seeking to help and hold
and bring peace to those around you.

Did you know, father still reaches for you,
touches your photo every night before bed,
his heart ever dwelling with you.
We all miss you. How could we not?
You, who meant so much to us all.

I do not care for birthdays anymore,
at least, not my own, not really.
But if this day matters at all,
as it does to my beautiful wife, my children,
it matters because of you, Mother.

Thank you for all you did for me,
for all of us.

We will never forget you.