A Family is a River

Some years ago, during the bleak months/years following the death of my dashing (now not so) young Scotsman, my daughter on behalf of her baby son, gave me a little book entitled 365 Reflections on Grandmothers.  This was meant to and succeeded in cheering me.

Today, when flicking through the book I came upon this quote:

“A family is a river;
some of it has passed on and
more is to come and nothing is still,
because we all move along day by day
toward our destination”.  Dolores Garcia

I don’t know who Dolores Garcia is – I Googled her name and came up with several – but whoever she is has succinctly put the family into words.

It is the kind of poetry that I would like to write.  In fact, I wish I had written it.

We know that family members move on – Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands, wives, children all come into our family and make themselves part of it and are sorely missed when they move on.

In their place come more people to swell the numbers of the family.  Children marry and produce children of their own, who in turn marry and also produce children.

More people become part of our now extended family.  Through marriages we acquire other relations, children, their siblings and families.

So nothing stays the same – nothing is still. Nor should we expect it to stay the same.  Change is inevitable as we move through our allotted time on earth.

If like me, you have these strong family ties they will keep you tethered and sane when all seems to be out of control.  Whether you see them on a regular basis, or only infrequently, you know that you can count on family members for support and succour comfort when needed.

Here is my attempt :

“Life like a river flows around us
and changes occur in the family formation;
Those we love move on and
in doing so leave huge gaps in the familiar structure.
Soon though, others come into the tight family unit;
Not to replace those who have moved on
but to bolster and fill the gaps and then
to take their own place in this entity we call family.”

Waterfall


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26 responses to “A Family is a River

  1. Beautiful. Both. I think that describes family quite well!

    Sandi
    http://www.ahhsome.wordpress.com
    Lake Forest, CA

  2. You wrote your own version beautifully, Judith. I like both, but I’m drawn more to the detail in yours.

  3. I love both poems. I cannot imagine having to go on without my beloved – I am sure it was rough. May the waters of the river that is family sustain you.

  4. A beautiful post Judith. You have captured the ebb and flow in the family unit and the changes that are inevitable.

  5. You summed up a family description quite well poetically, Judith.

  6. Both poems describe the fluidity and strength of family…..wonderfully.

  7. Lovely quote, and nice poem of your own Judith… I am blessed with a family I can count on as a safety net, pretty much always, and having my own family has always been something really important for me.
    You are right though, things flow and never stay the same, the geometry of our families keeps changing… It’s a peculiar thing when you think about it, how some people just go through our lives. x

    • WordPress must have been playing up when I responded to your comment several days ago. The response to your comment appears to have landed in the wrong place. What I said was – I am very new to writing poetry and so am a bit diffident about making it public. Thanks for the encouragement.

      I love the simile of family being a river – it really resonates. Your poem is lovely and thought-provoking!
      judithhb | January 26, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply

      Thanks Pegoleg. As I said this poetry writing is a skill I am just trying out. I am glad you liked this effort. 🙂
      Elyse | January 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply

      Dear Judith,
      I think this will be a wonderful bit of comfort for someone close to me. Her mother, who passed away a long while ago now, was named Judith. So thanks. I know it will comfort her, as it did me.
      judithhb | January 26, 2012 at 10:16 am | Reply

      Oh Elyse I am honoured that you think this will comfort a friend. And the fact that her mother’s name was Judith also touches a place in my heart.

      I hope that she is coming to terms with the loss of her mother. We know that we never really get over that loss. Kind wishes winging to her and of course, to you, from the other side of the world. 🙂
      eof737 | January 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply

      Beautiful poem and post… Lovely! 🙂
      judithhb | February 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply

      Thanks Elizabeth. We are truly blessed if we have family members on whom we can count. 🙂
      Bridgesburning Chris King | February 2, 2012 at 6:55 am | Reply

      I love it Judith! We are a very close family constantly flowing!

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  8. Hi Judith – Thank you for your pingback to my blog post (and a year ago that sentence would not have made sense to me!). I really enjoyed reading your take on the family, and the beautiful poem – yes, a family is indeed like a river, and we are privileged to be part of that current and flow. So glad to meet you!

  9. I am very new to writing poetry and so am a bit diffident about making it public. Thanks for the encouragement.

  10. I love the simile of family being a river – it really resonates. Your poem is lovely and thought-provoking!

  11. Dear Judith,
    I think this will be a wonderful bit of comfort for someone close to me. Her mother, who passed away a long while ago now, was named Judith. So thanks. I know it will comfort her, as it did me.

    • Oh Elyse I am honoured that you think this will comfort a friend. And the fact that her mother’s name was Judith also touches a place in my heart.

      I hope that she is coming to terms with the loss of her mother. We know that we never really get over that loss. Kind wishes winging to her and of course, to you, from the other side of the world. 🙂

  12. Beautiful poem and post… Lovely! 🙂

  13. I love it Judith! We are a very close family constantly flowing!

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