Alice Kuiper deJong
She is Always Here
Can You Ever Remember When She Wasn't There?
When you needed to be silent, yet still heard--ask and
find out who you were, she was there...
Someone to laugh with you about yourself, sorrow divided,
or joy multiplied; she was there.
A soul to remain constant through disappointment, tragedy,
misfortune, she was there.
If silent support was needed, a strong will, assuring
presence; she was there.
When you called out for a willing hand, wasn't she
You, any of you just think of any important event in
your life... She Was Always There.
Who was this seemingly stoic lady consistently bearing
a smile that hid her tears, fears, disappointments and tender heart?
Yes, she had a tender heart. Only a tender heart would
respond to the needs of others.
She was one of those people who functioned inconspicuously
in the background, but she was always loved, needed and appreciated. She
was always there.
One thing for sure...she was loved. You only had to walk
through her home and you knew it. Her home abounded with the gifts and
remembrances of those who loved and appreciated her. There were things
everywhere you looked: all of them acquired during a moment's thought of
her: an addition for her spoon collection from Solvang from a niece, a
picture from a sister purchased during a vacation, a piece of crayon art
made by a grandchild at play, a wood project from a son at school, a figurine
from a friend as thanks for some deed, a birthday floral remembrance from
her brother. Why? Because she was always there.
She was a multitude of kindnesses and remembrances; an
array of emotions; a collection of memories; an assortment of accomplishments,
gifts, deeds; and the soul of resilience with a dash of triumphs, passion
and delight...She was always there.
The following poem by an unknown author was found among
the possessions of an old Irishwoman. Thoughts of Alice prompted its revision
and sharing with you.
What do you remember, what do you see,
What do you think of when you remember me.
A crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes.
Who seemed not to notice the things that you do,
And forever was losing a stocking or shoe.
Who stood at the foot of some stairs
Wondering must she go up--or had she just come from there.
And before the frig, her poor mind is filled with doubt.
Has she just put food away, or just come to take some out.
Is that what you're thinking, is that what you remember?
You're wrong. I'll tell you who I was; I'm no dying ember.
I was a small child of ten with a father and mother;
Brother and sisters who loved one another.
A young girl at sixteen with wings on her feet;
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bride soon at twenty--my heart gave a leap;
Whispering vows, that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five I had young of my own,
Who needed me to build a secure, happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young grew so fast;
Bound to each other with ties I want to last.
At forty my young men are gone;
But my man stood beside me to see I didn't mourn.
At fifty once more sweet babes play round my knee;
Again I know precious children, my house and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread,
For my young men are busy rearing young of their own.
I think of the years and the love I have known.
I'm just an old woman now and nature is cruel,
'Tis her jest to make old age look a fool.
I wear comfortable clothes and grow fat,
And eat so much eel I can't sit where I sat.
I hoard pencils, coupons and clippings;
Put stuff in boxes, and fill drawers with things.
I keep gifts from loved ones; and some from a friend;
Keep the choicest 'til my stay on earth is at end.
It's okay, it's all right.
I knew you loved me inspite.
I would rather have the family I loved true,
Round my casket as this world I bid adieu,
Than all the flowers in the world, pink, white or red:
I'd rather have you than a truckload when I'm dead.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart.
And now there's a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old shell, a YOUNG GIRL STILL DWELLS,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
You, you remember the joys, don't remember the pain;
Through you I'm loving and living life over again.
You, you think of the years all too few--gone so fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, reflect, smile, and see,
I'm ALWAYS here; I love you--remember me.