Open to the day

My mother on my parents’ 50th anniversary, in Banff

That more and more a Providence
Of love is understood,
Making the springs of time and sense
Sweet with eternal good;

That death seems but a covered way
Which opens into light,
Wherein no blinded child can stray
Beyond the Father’s sight…

That all the jarring notes of life
Seem blending in a psalm,
And all the angles of its strife
Slow rounding into calm.

And so the shadows fall apart,
And so the west-winds play;
And all the windows of my heart
I open to the day.

— John Greenleaf Whittier, from “My Psalm”


  1. Whittier’s beautiful poem reminds me of the words your mother spoke before going into surgery for risky mid-brain aneurism repair, over thirty years ago. To paraphrase her words: “You be strong, and believe! All your prayers and faith mean nothing if you fall apart over this.” (I truly believe she had doubts about surviving that surgery.)

    • Eric, she certainly did have doubts that she would survive, and not without reason. (She even told me where she had a bit of cash hidden in the house and told me “If something happens to me, just put it in your pocket!”) πŸ™‚ But she was incredibly strong through the whole ordeal. The night before her surgery they had trouble getting her IV in and they stuck her so many times she bled all over the place. After they finally got it going, she told them “after that I need some ice cream” and when they brought it and left, she told me “you eat this, I ordered it for you.” She was not even 50 years old at the time.

      • Stories like this show me how you have good reason to refer to your mama as “amazing”!

        • Yes, and I could tell such stories for hours. She was perhaps the most complex but simple person I ever knew.

  2. Nancy

    I remember so many lovely times at your Mom’s, Julia…please give her and your Dad my best. Nancy

    • Thank you, Nancy! You have always been like family to us.

  3. The memories of Mom’s surgery and all that surrounded it make me realize where you got such strength and optimism….Mom! “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it”

    • Carla, so true! When I read that verse it will always be Mom’s voice in my head saying it!

  4. Geez, brain surgery 30 years ago must have been a dicey deal. What steely nerves your mom must have to be able to calm on soothe her family at such a time. Such a pretty picture too.

    • Yes, it was quite an ordeal. She is maybe the strongest person when it comes to such things that I’ve ever known, except for Jeff, who seems to be defying all the boundaries in what is body is tolerating the past couple of days. It’s incredible what people can survive, isn’t it? I do love that photo.


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