This Makes My Heart Ache

Parents, beware. If you’re even remotely aware of the dark twisting nether of emotions coursing through you, feel free to move on. If, on the other hand, you don’t mind the occasional tug on your heart, by all means don’t miss this…

I was driving to work today and caught the end of Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. Today’s poem was called “Little Sisters” and is told from the perspective of a birthday celebration for the one surviving girl of three.

It begins:

This birthday I have reached the age
where my mother bore
the last of her dead daughters—
one that was whisked away
before its first clean cry
could scour the naked room, the later two
a blue that refused to brighten.

and ends:

I reach for her hand and hold it,
but there are spaces here,
tender lacunae we cannot fold away.
Still somewhere the hand-stitched garments,
the gingham quilts, the counting game.
Still the soot-smudged corner
where I crouched beneath the stovepipe
and fingered like a rosary
the small pebbles of their names.

A truly remarkable piece of writing. Read it today and say a prayer for parents and children everywhere who have lost a child, a friend, a little sister or brother.

[Read “Little Sisters”]
[Listen to Garrison read “Little Sisters”]


  1. good morning. what an amazing profile you have. your words are every woman’s, wife’s and mother’s dream. family should be the center of the universe and i’m glad to meet yet another husband and father who feels thay way. your family pictures are beautiful. good looking family inside and out.hi. i’m here as you are the link of our wonderful Dr. John for the day. he manages to always send us to such beautiful blogs to meet some wonderful people, like this morning.the poem in today’s poem is beautiful and beautifully sad..that mother has 3 angels in heaven who await her but sometimes that knowledge isn’t always so comforting, i know…prayers for all the sorrows and sadness in the world are good, so thank you for believing and believing and sharing. May God Bless you and your family all the days of your lives.

  2. I’ve not experienced either type of loss, but can imagine the grief. Thanks for sharing a lovely poem.Here from Dr. John’s…you’re his link of the day.

  3. hi from dr.john s blog

  4. that is truly a remarkable peice of writing. here from Dr. John’s as he’s made you his link for the day

  5. That is a wonderful poem. My husband and I were just talking about some people we know who are the “last ones left” and how that must feel. Stopping by via Dr. John.

  6. This poem is beautiful. Thank you for bring it to my attention — and I thank Dr. John for sending me here!

  7. The loss of a child, at any age is devastating. I met an old woman in a rest home who had outlived all of her children, seven of them. She said when you have out lived your children, there is nothing to live for. i thought about it, it would indeed be sad……finding new blogs via of Dr. John.

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