Two last names
One since birth
One since 2011
Is it a dash?
Is it a hyphen?
A space between me
I may be small
but I need a big name
to contain me.
Every time I write my name
I embrace its length
I live in that space between
Horner is my heritage.
Who chose the plains
Of Colorado and New Mexico
To heal their
Who chose something
And family close
Who chose the ranching life
A radical difference
Miller is my choice.
My dear husband
Whose name covers me
With his love and shelter
Whose name aligns my
Scattered parts together
Whose name sounds
Like life to my aching heart
A marriage at 59 years old
The one to my soulmate
Friends before the vows
Today I live between
A large name for
A large life
I didn’t plan
When I hyphenated!
Three other marriages
Taught me to hold
I just knew it was right
The space between
The link between
Copyright©2019 Larada Horner-Miller – http://www.laradasbooks.com
Here it is six years after my Mom’s death and Mother’s Day smacks me in the face with fresh grief—I miss buying Mom a card and flowers and calling her up. I miss her infectious laughter and her practical jokes.
Many people face grief on this celebratory day—the graphic above shows those affected most. For many years before Mom died, I dreaded this day. Why? Because I am not a mother, and that hole in my heart pulsated to an overwhelming size on this annual day of remembrance.
I remember going to church one Mother’s Day many years ago (not to my present church for sure), and they had all the mothers present stand and gave them a flower. Again, I stifled tears being reminded of my lack.
Today my church gave every woman present a chrysanthemum and said a prayer for “Mothers, Potential Mothers, and Women Who ‘Mother’ in Any Way.” Today I stood, satisfied for sure.
Yes, I have mothered many people’s children. I was a middle school teacher for twenty years. My brother and his wife knew my deep longing for a child—I had a miscarriage about the time they got pregnant with the first of their three children. They share their children with me in a deep meaningful way, and I am close to them and their children.
After the miscarriage, my first husband and I sought help from a fertility specialist in Denver, Colorado—the famous Dr. Bradley who pioneered a natural child method
So we thought about artificial insemination. The thought thrilled me because finally I could get pregnant, but my husband didn’t agree. So we
My mother especially grieved with me over the loss of a child—I had been raised to get married, live happily ever after and have 2.4 children. The Horner’s celebrated children and grandchildren. After my divorce, Mom talked about artificial insemination—she even offered to help me pay the hefty price of $10,000 for it! (Remember, this was in the early 1980s.)
The battle raged inside me—I could finally have the baby I always wanted, but I labored over the fact of being a single Mom. In the end, I chose not to do it which looking back; I realized was a wise decision for me.
The next few years I drank away, numbing my broken heart and acting out! God’s mercy won in the choice I made. I would have injured a child with my crazy lifestyle at that time.
The years have healed that profound ache, and I am satisfied with my childless life today, but I will always be indebted to my Mom and her undying support of the need she knew I had!
Here are two poems I wrote in 1996 and 2005 while I was still lamenting the lack of a child in my life:
Childless – 1996
The pain of being without a child! Eternally alone!
No child has burst forth from my womb
nor sucked at my breast.
Barren cavity deep inside waiting to
Waiting, waiting, waiting!
I have no child to pass my stories on to, my history, our history,
how Grandad created our ranch,
how special Branson Christmas trees are
because we cut them down from our ranch, our land,
how to do the Jessie polka and waltz,
how I was almost named Jessie.
My name, Larada, that should pass on to my granddaughter,
like my grandmother passed it on to me,
every other generation for 7 generations.
Cheated, robbed, failed!
Not woman, not mom, nothing! Does a child define woman?
Does the lack of them define me?
Names and faces dance in circles in my mind
Curly blond hair, blue inquisitive eyes.
Bright red hair, changeable hazel eyes
A mixture of him and me.
I have no daughter that has my smile nor a son with my Dad’s red hair.
No one to call me, “Mommy.”
The empty cavity waiting to be filled has grown larger
no longer just my womb,
but now my whole being,
my every thought,
Aching, lonely, pulsating to the beat of life
missing what never was!
Childless at 51 – 2005
I am childless
Reality hit yesterday as life in
My 50’s sheds light on my life’s fact.
Who will carry on the stories I have –
A lifetime full of
Who will recall that
Grandma Horner demanded
I have a set of sheets
With yellow roses?
Her mark of innocence for me, her namesake.
Who will name their child
Will that meaningful name
Die with me?
Who will remember that Dad
Called me Shorty?
Who will share my travel escapades?
My love for the Mayas!
Who will know the story behind
Each Christmas decoration
Hanging on my tree?
Who will understand the
Spiritual voyage I took
By looking through my
Personal library of life?
Will you be able to stitch together
The words that formed the
My life over?
That gave me closure to
The search through
The pages, the beliefs,
The heart-wrenching self
That examined herself
Through various beliefs
Who will look at all
And be able to define
The complex mystery
No one, but me!
Are you sad this Mother’s Day? If so, tell me your pain so I can share it and lessen your burden.
Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com
MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL UNTIL
Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/
Do you want to pre-order the Marshall Flippo biography? Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42
For years when I was single, Valentine’s Day was the worst day of the year, magnifying the fact I had no one to share this romantic holiday with—I felt ugly, lonely and alone. I avoided any semblance of celebration of the day, but my Mom always sent me a card and tried to make it special.
Who was Saint Valentine’s anyway? Why all the hoopla?
Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.” One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person. Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.
Who helped create this popular holiday?
The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.
Since I have been married to Lin, we have had some fantastic Valentine’s. Tonight, I wrote him a poem, and I did it because I heard Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show this week talk about writing a love letter to your spouse this Valentine’s Day.
Here’s her story about the love letter she wrote to her husband this year. https://www.today.com/news/jenna-bush-hager-shares-touching-love-letter-husband-henry-t148549
I know it’s late—I was traveling today and have been thinking about this for a couple days. You can still do it! So, do it later tonight or tomorrow—write a letter, a poem, a song. Take a chance and in writing, share your heart with your someone special. There’s no better gift in the world than word from the heart.
Let me know what you think about this: have you ever written a poem for your spouse or significant other? If so, how did it go?
Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com
50% Discount of A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir–both paperback and e-book versions–at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft.
Grief is a topic that many people turn their backs on–I challenge you to answer the question because I will!
My Aunt Willie Urbanoski died on Friday, October 12, 2018, and because of family circumstances, we didn’t have her memorial service until yesterday, November 10. We did have a private family burial on Thursday, October 18, 2018.
Yesterday, the service was full of stories, pictures, laughter and tears–a real celebration of a woman who lived to be 98 years old–almost 99 because her birthday was Wednesday, November 7.
A second cousin stationed in England couldn’t attend to service, so her sisters did a live feed to her, so she and her husband could attend virtually–a 21st century way to handle loss.
How do YOU mourn the dead? For family? For friends? We all do it differently. My Mom’s sage advice: do it your way. I have a strong need to attend the memorial, view the body and get closure to the relationship. My best friend, Candy, died in 2012, and I was sick and couldn’t attend her service, and I have regretted it for years–no closure for me.
I wrote my aunt a poem for Christmas, 2012, and a week after my Mom died in March, 2013, Aunt Willie asked me if I would read that poem at her funeral. I said I would, but I’d cry all the way through it. She said she didn’t care because she wouldn’t be there!
So yesterday, I mustered my strength and read it–I got almost to the end before the tears came. Here’s the poem–I hope you enjoy it!
My Aunt Wee Wee
By: Larada Horner-Miller
December 25, 2012
Revised: November 9, 2018
You will always be Aunt Wee Wee!
As a child, Bub couldn’t pronounce “Aunt Willie,” so it came out
“Aunt Wee Wee,” and it stuck.
As I look back through my life,
You have always been there,
Aunt Wee Wee!
When I became an Aunt,
I followed your lead!
I wanted to touch my
nieces and nephews’ lives
the way you touched mine!
I have valued all the wonderful times
we spent together over the years.
You grace so many
of my memories!
As a toddler
I can remember
when I looked into your eyes, I saw a playful sparkle
I love you!”
In my childhood,
at Branson dances,
I remember watching
you and Uncle Hughie dance,
and the fun you had.
I remember 4th of July picnics and fireworks
Bub and I couldn’t wait until you arrived with Black Cats!
You came all the way from Albuquerque!
As a family, we went to Albuquerque.
You shared your beautifully decorated cakes.
We went on shopping sprees to the mall.
Delicious Thanksgiving dinners shared!
Our fishing trips
Our time together at Springer lake
You sat religiously by the lake, pole in hand.
While Uncle Hughie and I set up our poles
My week stay with you in Albuquerque-
A visit to Old Town
The Tram and dinner on the top! I felt like a princess!
As a young adult
You attended all of my major life events:
My 8th grade graduation
Princess at the TSJC tournament
My high school graduation
My TSJC graduation
We’ve continued that
precious relationship into my adulthood.
You attended my first 2 weddings.
No one attended the third.
Lin and I knew you were with us in spirit at ours.
As our second anniversary approached, Aunt Willie repeated often,
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?
Yes, Lin and I celebrated our second anniversary
with you in Pueblo— pictures, cake, laughter and love abounded.
I had several special visits while you
were in Logan, UT and now in Pueblo.
Some people I’ve known for a short time
and they only know me one dimensionally.
You have known me forever, and you know the many
sides of me.
You smile, and
you make me smile.
You know all about me,
and you make me feel good
about being me.
You love to laugh and enjoy life.
Often you catch me by surprise
with your witty humor, and we share a belly laugh.
In that laughter
I am no longer 59; You are no longer 93.
We are young again, frolicking on the floor.
My Aunt Wee Wee!
That’s the power you have always had–to make me smile
To make me laugh and
To make me feel good about myself!
What a gift!
I haven’t called you
“Aunt Wee Wee” for years,
but you always will be — my Aunt Wee Wee!
Copyright © 2018 Larada Horner-Miller
How do you mourn the loss of a family member? A friend? I’d love to see your comments. Remember–there’s no right or wrong way to do it!
Visit my web site: https://www.laradasbooks.com
Visit my Etsy Shop for holiday specials: Larada’s Reading Loft
I love writing poetry–it’s the expression of my heart and soul, but I write prose also. So can you be more than a poet? A writer? A wordsmith? An Author?
I’m all of those and more! Are you?
Here’s my most recent poem–enjoy!
The View Down and The View Up
The view down is different today!
At exercise class
sitting on my mat cross-legged, I looked down at my belly.
Recently, I lost fifteen pounds;
the bulge of my tummy has shrunk!
I love the loss!
My tummy doesn’t stick out like before.
The shrinkage is good!
Having just turned sixty-five.
I see my body changing,
delightful yet sad!
Arthritis cripples several fingers
and my thumbs.
Once I had straight lovely fingers,
hands I loved to view.
Now I see my mom’s and grandma’s hands
crooked and achy,
where mine used to be.
I still wear beautiful turquoise rings;
pain screams through the beauty.
My right knee hints of hurting today.
I have a brace I keep handy
just in case.
As I age,
the worst part so far–
I pee my pants
when I cough
when I sneeze
when I laugh too hard.
Thankfully, pads ended years ago
when my period stopped.
Now I have returned to pads
I fear an inexplicable puddle.
Will Depends be in my future?
keep my body nimble, limber and moving.
keep my mind nimble, flexible and alive.
Facing this next phase of life,
I want to meet and greet
the elderly Larada.
I want to accept her limits,
to challenge her mindset,
to embrace her idiosyncrasies.
I don’t see me as a feeble ole lady
wearing nylons rolled up to my knees
I will continue to wear hot pink and leggings
wobbling with style and grace.
I want to redefine being
a Senior Citizen.
I have “Hot Tamale” red spiked hair
instead of gray.
I saw the gray and white coming
and opted to hold onto my youth.
I’m a red head at heart,
because of my red headed father.
I’m young at heart.
I’m trim today
because I have to be.
Echoes of family genetics
keep me steadfast.
My maternal grandmother and her sisters
overweight German stock.
I have a life partner
that shares my attitudes.
We travel and enjoy life.
We laugh. We talk. We dance.
We start many days with a rousing Cribbage game.
He’s older than me
I watch his wise ways
of handling these changes.
I have dear friends and family who encourage me
to be the authentic Larada God created me to be.
The future is bright.
The day is calm.
I like all of me
the helpless baby I was
the energetic five-year-old
the obnoxious thirteen-year-old
the sixty-five-year-old crone
I honor each one and their influence on me today.
Yes, years bring wisdom
a strong knowing
for God’s next phase
a new uncharted adventure
The view up at this glorious world graces my day.
A verdant green forest of pinon pine
A luscious purple mesa lit up at sunset
Cholla cactus in full fuchsia bloom
My fifteen-year-old Siamese cat who struggles
with feline diabetes yet meows his love to me
Summer newness exploding in our garden
The view down
into my soul
I like what I see!
The view up
out of my world
reaches to the clouds and back.
I would love to hear your thoughts about aging–is 65 the new 45?
For more of my writing, visit my web site: https://www.laradasbooks.com
Or go to my Etsy Shop for End of Summer Specials: Larada’s Reading Loft
I Grew Up To Be The Woman I Always Wanted to Be is my grief memoir, a collection of poetry and prose, about the loss of my Dad 21 years ago and my Mom 4 years ago. The majority of the book deals with Mom’s death and my process afterwards.
Here’s the poem the book is named after.
Have you lost both parents? Do you feel like an adult orphan? Fill out the poll below and we will see the results–also leave me a comment about this topic.
I had a friend tell me last week after reading my book, that it sounded like his childhood — he grew up in Brooklyn, not southeastern Colorado. He said we were a tight-knit community when I grew up, just like your community.
So it doesn’t matter where you grew up. Hopefully these poems and stories will hit home for you and give you a respite for a moment.