Rants My Way

The Passing

My mother passed away after a long hospital stay in 2005. I’d moved her to Joplin, MO, after dad died, so I could take care of her. During the five years she lived there, she asked me to write a poem for her. She was a very religious person, so I geared the poem towards her beliefs. After she passed, I felt the poem was incomplete, so I wrote a short story to both complete it, and honor her. The following is what I wrote. A dear friend of mine once told me, we come in as children, and we leave the same way, hence, the picture


The carpenter wandered into Joplin one cold February evening. He knew not his purpose, only that this was the place he should be. He had heard a voice telling him to come here, that his journey was coming to an end.

Can it be true? he thought. Will I now be able to rest, to see the Lord my God? I have searched for that which will allow me to forgive myself. Now, after all these centuries, will I be able to go home to be with Jesus, the Son of God?

Doubts assailed him. He fought them off as best he could, knowing they were the Devil’s work. But they persisted and his hopelessness grew. He put his toolbox down, sat on a corner and watched cars zip by, wondering if any of the occupants of the vehicles felt as he felt. He hoped not. He had had hopes of going home before, but his doubts always kept him from truly believing in his own forgiveness.

He watched as a crow landed on a light pole across the street. Don’t I know you? said the woodworker to the crow. The bird tilted his head as if to say, Yes, we have met many times before.

The crow started hopping along the pole. Back and forth he went, all the while looking at the carpenter, and making cawing sounds. The old man knew not what to make of the bird’s behavior. Maybe this crow has some strange disease, he thought. Still the black bird continued its antics. It would stop every so often and look, head cocked, at the carpenter for a minute, and then start hopping again.

The old man stood, feeling the pain of years past, picked up his tool box, and walked across the street to be nearer to the crow. The bird stopped its antics and watched the carpenter in silence. As the old man got closer to the light pole, the crow started flapping its wings and cawing. When the old man was standing under the street light, the crow flew east, to the next light pole, and repeated his strange dance.

Could it be that this odd bird wishes me to follow him? thought the carpenter. So walk to the next light pole he did, all the while watching the crow dance and caw. When he got there, the bird flew to a barren tree. That must be what he wants, but where is he leading me? the old man thought again. Okay, bird, lead and I will follow, he said to the crow in a voice heard only by the wind.

So the old man followed the crow as the bird made its way from tree to pole to tree. On they went like that for many blocks until the crow flew up and landed on a window ledge on the third floor of Freeman hospital. The bird pecked on the glass and looked at the carpenter.

By now, the old man had become accustomed to the antics of the bird. He knew that he was to go to the room the bird was pecking at.

The carpenter entered the building and walked up the stairs to the third floor. There, he proceeded down the hall to a room where the door was partially ajar. He pushed the door open, walked into the room and found an old woman lying on a bed.

She had an oxygen tube attached to her nose, as well as an intravenous needle in her arm. The woman had her eyes closed and was saying the Hail Mary over and over again in a barely audible voice.

The old man walked to her bedside and took her hand in his. He took out a rosary he carried in his pocket and wrapped it around her wrist. The woman opened her eyes and looked at the man. She smiled, and said, “Is it time to go now?”

“Yes,” said the carpenter. “The Lord is waiting for you.”

“Is it a long journey?” she asked him.

“Yes, very long,” said the carpenter, in reply.

“Will you walk with me, and help guide me?” asked the woman.

The carpenter thought back on the long years he had spent wandering the earth in search of his own forgiveness. Watching the dying woman smile and pray, he knew that this was his time to finally forgive himself. He knew it was time to go home.

The old man looked deep into the woman’s eyes and said, “Maybe it is you who can help guide me.”

“Then let us guide each other, for we are both old, and if the journey is long, we will have each other to lean on,” the woman replied.

“Yes, that is as it should be,” said the carpenter. “Come, then, join me and let us start our journey.”

The son walked into the room, finding his mother lying on the bed, and knew she had passed away.

He looked down on her, with tears in his eyes, as the nurses arrived and pulled the needle from her arm and disconnected the oxygen tube.

“Goodbye, mother,” he said. “May your soul now rest in peace.” He kissed her forehead one last time and left the room to call the rest of the family to tell them of her passing.

“Where did this rosary come from?” asked one of the nurses. “I don’t remember it being around her wrist before.”

The other nurse said, “Maybe her son put it there before he left. Leave it , it must have meant something to both of them.”

Outside the window, the crow gave one last caw and flew away.

August 16, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Sad….

    Comment by nursemyra | August 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Losing a parent is always sad.

      Comment by jammer5 | August 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. Great writing Jammers and a wonderful tribute to your mom

    Comment by frigginloon | August 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Best mom I ever had. I still miss her, and her cooking :-(

      Comment by jammer5 | August 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. Very sweet.

    Comment by Bearman | August 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks, bearman. She loved going for rides in the Ozarks, and I loved taking her.

      Comment by jammer5 | August 16, 2010 | Reply

      • All I know if you said you made this up like the last time, I was going to kill you.

        Comment by Bearman | August 16, 2010

      • Of course, the Carpenter was just a vehicle, but the rest was true. She spent 45 days in the hospital, fifteen in a drug induced coma, prior to passing away. The most difficult 45 days of my life.

        Comment by jammer5 | August 16, 2010

      • That is the one thing that I am grateful for with my dad. As sick as he was, I took him to the doctor the day before he died and we joked around. He woke up the next morning, sat in his wheelchair and just went. He never had to spend time in the hospital thanks to my mom.

        Comment by Bearman | August 17, 2010

      • My father went quickly as well. I flew out to visit him a month before he died of a stroke. When I went to fly home, I told my sister that was probably the last time I’d see him alive. Somehow I think we just know when the time comes.

        I think every childs’ wish is that their parents don’t suffer.

        Comment by jammer5 | August 17, 2010

  4. You brought a tear to my eye and a sad smile to my heart Jammer. My mom passed away very, very quickly of cancer. I was there the entire five days from the time they knew it had come back to the time that she passed.

    I think that ‘serious’ writing is where your true talent lies. Really, this was phenomenal!

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | August 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Losing a mom is heartbreaking, and I empathize with you. It was difficult writing this.

      I appreciate the compliment, and may start including some of my “serious” writings here. But I still like writing reviews and junk, as I call it. A bit of everything. My guess is if you got serious, it would be awesome.

      Comment by jammer5 | August 17, 2010 | Reply

      • And I hope you’re gathering all your writings to put into book form. Done right, some dealer will publish it, and I’ll be first in line to buy it.

        Comment by jammer5 | August 17, 2010

  5. So sorry, this is very beautiful though.

    Comment by Corve DaCosta | August 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks, Corve. At least she never had to see any of her children go before her. A truly wonderful woman and mother.

      Comment by jammer5 | August 17, 2010 | Reply

  6. Wow Jammer, that was awesome…thank’s for bumming me out with your fantastic writing first thing in the morning :-)

    Seriously though, that was very nice sir…

    Comment by Ron-Yves Strouteau | August 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks, Ron. Tough time, but wonderful woman. Not too difficult to write something to honor her.

      Comment by jammer5 | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  7. What a beautiful story! You are really talented and I’m sure somewhere your mom is really pleased and proud.

    Comment by Lisa | August 21, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks Lisa, and I hope you’re right. Wonderful woman.

      Comment by jammer5 | August 21, 2010 | Reply

  8. What a lovely poem. You know, you have just written something wonderful for your Mum, you have written a story that strikes a chord with many people.
    For me, it is the loss of my Grandmother who was more like a Mum to me than her own daughter was to me. I nursed and loved my Grandmother at home. It was the best 2 years that we both ever had together. It allowed her to love and be loved by myself, my husband and my (then) baby boy.
    The crow is a symbol to myself and was to my Grandmother also. Some people are scared of them..crows I mean. But to us they mark time. They do hold messages, it would seem, from days gone by.
    As a nurse, this story also means alot to me. As I sit here on my break on night shift (I am working on coronary carre right now) reading your story, it feels so close to me. Alot has happened in the years I have been nursing, some unexplained things when people pass on. I have the thought that we are not meant to question the “strange” goings on, the co incidences, but just view them as they happen..take note, mark it and store it for future reference.
    Sorry for the long comment, as I said, you stuck a chord with me. Take care ..and keep up that amazing writing.

    Comment by Cazzie!!! | September 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks, Cazzie. I didn’t want my mom traveling alone, so I wrote this piece. Losing loved ones is just heart breaking.

      Comment by jammer5 | September 5, 2010 | Reply

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