by Elouise


inauspicious death
haunts her widow soul
her mother heart

children don’t die
before their mothers
it isn’t right

who am I?
widow of William
daughter of Kenneth
mother of William
mother of John
mother of Kenneth

who am I
without my men?
without their titles
their medals
their badges of honor
laid down underground?

inauspicious death
takes woman of good repute
before we know her

* * *

Euphemia: a popular Scottish name
from Greek, meaning auspicious speech or good repute

When we were in Scotland I saw multiple gravestones of women named Euphemia. This one caught my eye because the script was more about the men in her life than about her own life. It left me with questions and few answers.

After I wrote this poem I realized the last three lines describe my sadness about my Mom’s death. It seems many women don’t find their own voices or tell their stories until later in life. I believe my mother, Eileen, was one of them.

The saddest part? She had only just begun to get interested in herself enough to begin telling her story. In her voice.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 October 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser – September 2015
Holyrood Abbey Ruins,  Edinburgh