But I Didn’t Know

For Mum

I didn’t know today would be your last Christmas.
I would have set up a tree in your hospital room,
Decorated with purple and green lights.
I would have made your favourite pumpkin cheesecake.
I would have spent less time complaining 
About how busy my life was.
Deadlines overwhelmed me, no time to enjoy the holidays.
While you spent Christmas in a hospital bed.
Couldn’t even see your own granddaughter.
But I didn’t know.

I didn’t know today would be your last birthday.
I would have made your favourite pistachio pudding cake,
Despite your pleas that it would just go to waste,
Since you had to spend your birthday in a hospital room.
I would have gotten you more balloons, more flowers, 
As many presents as I could carry.
I would have sung Happy Birthday at the top of my lungs,
Got all of the doctors and nurses to join in.
But I didn’t know.

I didn’t know today would be your last Mother’s Day.
I would have special-ordered your favourite whoopie pies.
I would have written you a poem telling you how much I loved you.
How you were “my person,” the one whose eyes still lit up
When I walked into the room.
How you gave me the gift of just being there when I needed you. 
Until one day you simply couldn’t.
But I didn’t know.

You once told me, don’t wait
Until you are standing over someone’s grave.
Because then it’s too late.
But I didn’t know
How soon that day would come.
I thought I would have so many more
Christmases, birthdays, Mother’s Days,
To celebrate with you.
But I didn’t know.

2 thoughts on “But I Didn’t Know

  1. I absolutely loved your poem “But I Didn’t Know” I think of my parents who are 91 years and I want to remember to make sure I do everything you mention in the poem , before I can’t! Thank you so much!

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