Singing My Mother to Sleep, a poem



At first, I drove mother to all of her doctor appointments

she’d sit in unfamiliar fashion on the passenger side

trying to show a supportive smile –

even though she was the one who needed encouragement.

We’d drive the thirty miles to the local hospital

most often in silence, observing the highway

listening to the wind whistle through the window

and contemplating whatever it was that was on our minds.

For me, I can never truly know how she felt

I was only a silent observer

I would run errands, shop for food and cook her meals

all the while, she was the one who struggled.

She struggled to smile when she lost her hair

but she learned to tie scarves fashionably around her head

and she continued to hold her head high

despite the desire to shed more than a few tears.

She was tired, she said, and afraid.

As she grew weaker, I tried my best to tempt her

with gourmet meals and entertainment

I’d clean the house while she slept nearby

and when she was awake, she would struggle to help,

but I demanded it was my turn to care for her.

When mother stopped eating,

I would spend hours reading to her

she would close her eyes and listen

sometimes, even managing a smile

though it was much harder now.

Other times, I would listen

when she had the strength to speak

I would hear the long, forgotten tales

of her childhood

newly sprung from her lips

and I was grateful to listen

to understand her that much more.

It was a gift, these moments with her

despite her obvious pain

for it was then that I felt I truly knew her.

In the end – she slipped into a coma

and though the heart of her

was no longer there

I still felt her presence.

I would bathe her

rub her back with lotion

and continue discussing

the stories that she had told to me.

I knew that it would not be much longer

I knew that every day that passed

with her still alive was a gift

and when at last, she forced her last breath

I held her body close to me and sang her to sleep.


© Sumyanna 2017


This poem is purely fictional.




10 Comments Add yours

    1. Sumyanna says:

      Thank you very much!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. leigha66 says:

    A wonderful poem of compassion.


    1. Sumyanna says:

      Thank you very much Leigha. I was reading a story about a woman who had to take care of her mother and it just touched my heart. I felt it needed words.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. leigha66 says:

        You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Serendipitous Web Life. : ) says:


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean too well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sumyanna says:

      Sad to hear that, as I know many do. It is such a difficult thing to deal with.


  4. It was very moving, even if fictional…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sumyanna says:

      So glad you think so 🙂 Thank you!


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