I think about my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents

and those who went before –

all of them gone to the cool earth – yet

I feel their support. The subtle threads of connection reach

the other way too, shimmering in the blood of my son, his infant twins,

maybe beyond.

When I was a little girl I watched my mother and her mother intently,

as children do. They discussed ordinary tasks: the making of gravy,

the way to set the dinner table. I sensed a deep bond

between us: three generations of women connected by

genes and blood, place and time. They taught me what beauty is –

a perfect white camelia, a tender biscuit,

a sparkling emerald, a warm smile.

The lessons buoyed me in dark times

long after their deaths

sweet tokens

of the past.


I visited my son and his new family: twin boys,

my grandchildren. I watched as they were

held and fed,

bounced and tickled. I gazed as intensely as

I did those long years ago when I watched my mother and grandmother.

I am still learning

where beauty is

in this hard world.


The boys fell asleep and we talked about the value of art,

about being a new therapist and being new to therapy. We talked about Ukraine,

where the twins’ mother was born. She had offered to help old friends from her

school days but they spurned the idea, wanting only

money for the troops.

Revenge over comfort.

The talk turned lighter then, to family resemblances. I said I could see

my grandfather in the twins’ faces, their high foreheads, their curious, solemn eyes.

My son carries his name, a tribute to his forge-ahead energy,

endearing quirks, his confident way of moving

through life. A stubborn, self-made man, he framed out

a secure place in life for himself and his family. Now my son,

easily a foot taller than his great-grandfather and inhabiting

a different world,

dreams the same dreams,

makes them real again.


The day after the visit I waded through a box of old photos

and papers looking for pictures of “The Colonel”

(as my grandfather was called) to send to J. She was curious

about my grandfather, wanted to know more about the

mythical man whose blood runs in her children’s veins. Head bent,

I rummaged through the box and pulled out a sixty-year-old letter

typed on onionskin and dictated by my grandfather

in reply to a researcher inquiring about his background.

He said he didn’t know

what his own grandfather did for a living. Maybe

they were too preoccupied with survival in the coal mine hollows

of West Virginia to remember their forebears’ lives. But

the Colonel got out.

He did well.


In the box, a scrawled list of Paris restaurants proves it.

Penciled on hotel stationery by my grandmother

in her energetic, round script, the list tells

who you can call if you can’t find good Scotch

(their favorite drink) and which restaurant has a good view

of l’Arc de Triumph. Halfway into the box I pulled out

a glossy, black-and-white, 8×10 of the two of them

enjoying drinks with friends at a crowded Manhattan restaurant.

Smiles all around.

Leafing through the fragile papers and photographs

I sensed a subtle vapor-like energy,

an ethereal column of mist wafting through my core

ribbon-like, down to the past generations and on

to my child and grandchildren. Warm feelings

washed over me –

like the oxytocin rush I get when I hold the babies, a

visceral connection to my

peopled past

and future.


And in the box there was a cherished missive from the past, a poem

my mother transcribed before she died. I’d wondered

where I put it,

worried that I’d lost it but there it was, folded in thirds just like

the first time I found it, weeks after she died.

Fifteen months of fitful struggles with pancreatic cancer

finally over.

I had taken time off from work and flown down to her house

to wade through the contents, exhausting work

in the best of circumstances made harder

by the sheer number of objects. Room to room, I sorted, never expecting

to find a carefully penned poem on yellow legal paper,

folded and tucked into a dresser drawer with

my mother’s socks and stockings.

I stopped to read (she knew that would happen).

I was glad to be alone as I listened to her voice

reciting the words, threading through time,

pulling the bond tight.

A heartstab of love

from the cool, rich earth

of the grave.


To Those I Love

If I should ever leave you whom I love
To go along the silent way,
Grieve not,
Nor speak of me with tears,
But laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you there.

(I’d come – I’d come, could I but find a way!
But would not tears and grief be barriers?)
And when you hear a song
Or see a bird I loved,
Please do not let the thought of me be sad
For I am loving you just as I always have
You were so good to me!

There are so many things I wanted still to do

So many things to say to you
Remember that I did not fear
It was just leaving you that was so hard to face
We cannot see beyond

But this I know;
I love you so
‘twas heaven here with you!

Isla Paschal Richardson



About the photographs:

All except the rock (#3) and the photo below were made using intentional camera movement (ICM). Most are one-second exposures at f22. Sometimes I moved my whole body, not just the camera, mimicking the waves coming ashore or the arcing outline of a rock. It was the day after I went through the box of papers, a day of rain and strong tides. I didn’t intend to do anything other than get outdoors between rain showers but I always have a camera with me and I wanted to do something different with it. Camera movement sprang to mind. The images seem to reflect the mood I was in – why wouldn’t they?




  1. Oh dear, your poetic text full of love for the generations before and after you with the great photos of the eternal sea brought tears into my eyes. Your mother’s lines before her death are overwhelming, too. And memories are coming up similar to yours, my first cup of coffee with my grandma, the explanations of my mother, my grandpa snoring in his afternoon nap and awakening by a specially loud snore … >More and more are coming up…So thank you very much for sharing!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re welcome, Petra. I can tell those memories are dear to you. Grief and love are interwoven, aren’t they? Interwoven in the best way. Remembering keeps us alive on this earth. 🙂 Thank you for your thoughts.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Reading your mother’s poem, several times, caused a great deal of comfort to me. Reading about the twins gave me warm memories. There is nothing in our lives that is as beautiful as the positive links of family ties, past, future, and today. Save this post, Miss Blue, to be read in the November of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The positive side of family ties hasn’t always been uppermost in my mind, Don, so the sensations that I felt that day (and they lasted another day or so) were remarkable. That’s good advice about saving the post… and hopefully, I’m not already in the November of my life but who knows? 😉 Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn, You have woven together present and past eloquently and I am moved by your storytelling. Your mother tucking a favorite poem away to be found by her daughter sending a message of love that will be carried on to her great grandsons. Your gorgeous ethereal images pair perfectly. Thank you for this inspiring piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very touching, Lynn.
    I thought it was amazing that you found your mother’s poem as predicted!
    20 years ago I tried to find out more about my grandparents and great-grandparents. I interviewed my aunt and uncle. Both said that at the table they did not talk about my great-grandparents! This astonished me very much!
    There is a photo of my great-grandfather from male side and also his family, photographed about 1880.
    On the female side I have a photo with the great-grandmother, how she stands broad-legged beside my grandmother. Baale they called her, which is probably the rural name for great-grandmother.

    I have only been able to meet my female grandmother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if you’re aware of it but in 2019 I traveled to northern Germany to see the village where my other grandmother was born. I was able to go inside the old farmhouse where she lived as a girl, too, because I wrote to some distant relatives before I left the States. I saw the church she went to as well. But no one knew anything about her or why she left Germany for the US. Obviously, like many other people, she wanted better opportunities but it would be good to know more. My father wrote about his parents but I don’t think he knew why his mother left Germany so it will always be a mystery. It’s wonderful to have those old photos, isn’t it? Thanks for writing, Gerhard, and have a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ken! You know how hit-and-miss intentional camera movement can be. I was happy with the way that one turned out and it’s really nice to read your comment. I hope all’s well with you!


  5. You’ve reminded me of looking at old pictures my mother collected. Faces of strangers to me, mostly, but my older sibs seem to recognize a few. And transcribing an extensive family tree worked up by an aunt but put down in text into an Ancestry format really put the history into the lineage.

    I don’t read much poetry, but “To Those I Love” is a really fine epitaph.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First, thank you for sharing such emotional details of your life, which isn’t always easy. And then for doing it in such a sweet and sensitive way.
    I believe that grandchildren change us… on the one hand, because we become aware that time is passing in our lives… and on the other, because our “roots” become stronger and more consolidated. We feel more actively that we are a link between generations.

    I loved the poem your mother left you. What charm and sensitivity! A treasure that is yours, but at this moment also belongs to all of us because it moved us.

    About the photos, in addition to revealing your state of mind…. they reveal time “in motion” and not just the instant. As the entire text of the post crosses generations and has a past, present and future, the photos also follow this line. I feel it…. Do I make myself understood?
    Thank you, again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment is precious, Dulce, I really appreciate it. There’s no doubt that you make yourself very clear – abundantly clear, as we would say. Your observation about the ways grandchildren change us makes a lot of sense. I know this is something you have thought about. Then your observation that the intentional camera movement technique reveals time in motion is delightful. Someone below said it’s “movement within movement.” One of the good things about loose associations (like putting these photos with this text) is that people can read more into it. I like that. Thank you very much and I hope you have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love how you intertwined the idea of continuum with your beautiful words about family and generations. The way the poem is sequenced and intertwined with the images is a continuum too! I think the ICM images (and the others) fit wonderfully with your words. Great post Lynn!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. First of all……Congratulations!!!!!
    And second of all….Fabulous use of ICM. Movement within movement within movement…..
    And third of all….You’ve brought to mind the boxes and boxes and albums and albums of photos and letters that I have yet to deal with……. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so good to hear from you, Johnny! I noticed you posted but I haven’t gotten there yet – tomorrow, OK? 😉 Movement within movement is a good way to put it. But I’m sorry I reminded you of all those boxes. Aieee! I have so much stuff that needs to be organized. I hope all’s well with you and the family. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good to see you still putting your amazing work out there. Also so glad to here of your new arrival. Are you back to working? Hopefully, if so, that’s for good reasons and out of your own choice and not out of necessity! I’ve had to make a few of those decisions lately….

        Never any worries about visiting my slapdash Gravity Prayer….just happy to be here now.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Not working for money – I retired 5 years ago and was glad that I did – only a year or two before I intended to. The food has to get on the table somehow and it’s often so tough to figure out the best way to do that. I feel for you! Stay happy – well, let’s say don’t stay unhappy any longer than necessary. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • Glad to hear it.
          My situation is fine–just a big adjustment–up at 4:30am (but done by 3pm!), back in the kitchen, corporate gig. Full benefits with a Danish multi-national company–paid holidays, paid vacay, paid sick leave, 401k, health benefits–kinda the Golden Ring in foodservice. I just couldn’t pass it up the opportunity.
          Pretty durned happy, all around. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Benefits are good! Especially when you have a family and worked for years without them (I think ). Sock as much away into that 401K while you can and enjoy the afternoons and evenings. I’m glad for you!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you so very much, Karl. I think it’s partly about loose associations – being willing to tie very different things together or to look beyond the expected. Your comment makes me very happy! 🙂


  9. This is absolutely beautiful, brought tears to my eyes. You certainly have a way with words, and a camera. The images match the sentiment of the text perfectly. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing your Mother’s lovely poem, a precious block in your continuing family quilt.
    Your first photo was my favorite & It’s gentle calm movement nicely set the tone for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a very touching post dear Lynn and you have found wonderful images to go with your words. Your method of ICM fits very well here. Your words, so poetically chosen, go to the heart and remind me of similar situations with my mother and grandmother :-). Your mother’s poem is sad, but also beautiful and comforting at the same time. Wise words! It must have been very touching, when you found it beneath her stockings.

    How beautiful to feel the connection to your ancestors and to continue it with your children and your grandchildren. I can well imagine that grandchildren renew and strengthen this connection. Thank you for this very personal insight that moved all of us here 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Almuth, thank you for reading and commenting. It’s great to hear that you like the ICM photos in this context. It’s nice to know that you were reminded of your own family, too. You understood everything that I was trying to convey here, which is gratifying. I feel like you do about the poem, and I suppose my mother felt that way, too! She was very private about her emotions so it was fitting to receive an emotional message from her in that way. I wish she had been able to talk more about her feelings when she was alive but she did what she could and it was a beautiful gift.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought of her way of letting you know, putting the poem between her stockings! Unfortunately many people from former generations didn’t learn to talk about or even show there feelings. Then it is an individual thing, but I know what you mean from my family too. I am glad she let you know this way!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve felt very rushed lately when in reach of the computer, so I’ve avoided opening your posts since I know they are always worth lingering over. I have many saved. I’m so glad I decided to take a portion of my time to open this one tonight. I don’t know what words to share or add here. They are all so meaningless compared to the post itself. I appreciate the privilege to read, see and feel. Thanks for giving form to these thoughts, connections, images… and for sharing them with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A swift visit, Lynn. My laptop is just back and I’m playing catch up. Talking to an American friend here, she reckons that flights to the UK from the States, and London to Portugal by any of the cheap airlines like Ryanair, Easyjet and returning the same way is by far the cheapest method. Hope this is helpful. Email if you need further advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Heart-warming post Lynn. Sometimes I wish I had more of those connections – my ancestry is quite fragmented. Beautiful poem – and I already like your grandmother for her favorite drink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As you know, family connections have their beneficial and detrimental sides. I chose to focus on the positive here because that’s what I was feeling. And besides, we could use more positivity, right? As in your comment. 😉
      (I’m not a Scotch person but my parents and maternal grandparents all were. I guess some things have to change…)
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh Lynn… so much feeling and beauty here… how lovely to discover it tucked away for a different day… your mother’s poem alone is worth going back to again and again.
    Those last two images knocked my socks off (so to speak!)
    (I’ve gone missing, I know! Lightroom crashed… and I’ve struggled to recover all those pictures I should have sorted and backed up. And the brain isn’t as quick to figure this stuff out these days.)
    I may have been overwhelmed with blogs piling up, but one thing I know is that yours are always worth saving for a later day! 💞
    Happy Valentine’s Day! 💕
    Spring seems to be springing down here… with rolling squalls of hail and rain coming down in sheets blown by the wind gusts (if only that could be caught on camera!) Followed moments later by sun and rainbows….
    It’s all good. We even went out to do a bit of ‘shooting’. 📷

    Liked by 1 person

    • Squalls and hail – we rarely get that kind of drama but we did yesterday, just for a brief period. It was mesmerizing. But no rainbow or even sun afterward. Oh well.
      However, I found my first little spring wildflowers last week, yea!! It was Satinflower, aka Grasswidow, a very small, lovely purple bell-like flower that likes steep slopes. So exciting!
      Sorry to hear about your Lightroom woes, that’s awful. I was wondering where you were. I use cloud backup, I think it’s worth it not to have to think about it, it just happens automatically and if the computer crashes I’m OK. Fixing Lightroom is always tricky though. If I run into problems there I call Alex Kunz and he always can fix the problem.
      Thanks for the good words. And have a lovely Valentine’s Day with your sweetie!!!


  16. Your words are so full of love, as your mother’s words are. Certainly it is a family gift to know how to use words in a proper way 🙂 and your photos are so full of beauty.
    I keep a couple of my mom’s writings in which she talks about her memories as a child, when her dad would go to the neighboring town for the cattle market or take shifts with other farmers to check the water for watering the fields.
    Unluckly I have no news about my grandfathers from my Dad side, but this is a different story, I imagine WWII has something to do with it.
    Thanks for your post, very intense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And your words are full of kindness, Robert, which I really appreciate. I’m glad you have those written memories of your mother – they are precious! Wars and secrets have kept a lot of history hidden from view so whatever we have, perhaps it becomes more important to pass on to the next generation.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. The nice thing about a blog — and in this case especially yours — is that all the good treats are still available to late-arriving guests. Just want to echo the appreciation that others have expressed for such a sweet and deeply moving post.

    Liked by 1 person

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