Monday, January 22, 2018

Winter Night

Winter Night Window

Sit here in the rocker in the dark a few minutes before you go to bed
enjoy the still silence of the night. The snow covering everything
the old oak, arms outstretched holding heavy loads of snow
people flow, walking their dogs even in the frigid air
street lights glow, white roads and sidewalks 
driveways plowed, yet painted white
a few last cars carefully crawl
 home respectful of the ice 
all is blanketed asleep
 not a breath stirs

The soothing quiet will ease into good sleep.

I’ll leave the curtain dawn aside tonight so the light can creep in early
 and brush its hand against my cheek to wake me 
then I might sit right here another while 
before I gently start my day


Saturday, January 6, 2018



You’d think I lived on a country 
path for all the traffic going by

Our city street pristine in white
the trees and shrubs encased 
in heavy loads of fluff, tufts of
which blow by in windy gusts
 on this sub zero morning too  
quiet for an urban Saturday.

Cars at the curb almost 
invisible blending with 
landscape buried in 



Saturday, December 30, 2017

Melancholy Christmas


remember this: 
suffering at Christmas
serves also to remind us that 
in time, renewal follows devastation
healing happens
spring comes
new growth
New You


Till Death Do Us Part

 ~~~Till Death Do Us Part~~~

As a couple ages, thoughts of death begin to enter the mind. One of us would likely be left behind some day. Although in decent health, we sometimes spoke of it. Quite often, actually. Yet in my heart of hearts I couldn’t go there. I could only see the impossibility of going on alone. I couldn’t imagine how I could survive—or want to—the loss of John.

We walked with Godde and knew that Divine Love and Grace would save us from despair when that day came. We lived with that trust and had experienced abundant blessing in our lives. Yet I froze in fear each time I’d try to think about it. To prepare. We were aging. John was sometimes frail.

And then it happened. John was suddenly gone. Stunned and in shock, surrounded by the love of family and friends, I soon realized I’d not fallen into some pit of despair. Christ’s Grace was there, preventing me from falling. Rather than a desperate sense of being buried alive, the loss of any will to live on, I somehow saw steps that needed to be taken. A farewell service to honor John had to be planned. One small purpose after another led me through each day. Looking back, I marvel with thanksgiving that, while Godde often pulls us out of pits, this time those Beloved hands held me from falling in.

Many, many have survived this path before me; we each have our stories. I guess my message is, don’t freeze in fear when you think about it. Christ’s Grace is sufficient and will guide you and give strength and confidence when sorrow comes. You can count on it. For that, I am eternally thankful. It is hard. I miss John, but it was like a miracle to be saved from falling apart, to land in Godde’s arms instead of in a pit.

It’s been more than seven months since John left this world. I often wonder what his new life is like. I imagine his spirit is full of joy and peace and purpose. I, too, find myself in a new world, on a new path. Everything has undergone a paradigm shift. Our home, so full of memories, is the same, yet his voice, his presence, is silent. Or I might say, his presence echoes in the silence. Even so, I am amazed to find joy and peace on this new journey, and even a fresh sense of purpose. For that, I praise Godde with thanksgiving.

We were an item, John and I, as are so many couples the world over. For almost sixty years, we wove a strong yet fragile shell around us. It was a beautiful wrap even with its many flaws. We loved and respected each other, but perhaps the most important key to our long-lived love was that we basically accepted each other the way we were.

I once found a small wall hanging that said: “I want for you what you want for you.” That rather flimsy bit of cloth hung on the wall in our room for a long time, quietly reminding us, when angry or in disagreement, of a sense of balance governing our marriage. Our unspoken goal, in spite of being two very different people, was to put the other first. We often failed in all of this, only to soon find our way back into the warm harmony of our shell.

In later years, the children long grown, our individual threads became more interwoven, threading through and around each other so that when death suddenly took John, it was as if the fabric of our wrap had been ripped apart, forcing me to scramble to mend the brokenness and weave some kind of selvedge to my life, to form some kind of healthy separation so I could continue on alone, to form from the remnants of that broken shell a new security and confidence to move ahead.

Grace has taken on new meaning for me now

JoMae Spoelhof

In August of 2016 this piece was published on ViewPoint, a section of the CFT (Christian Feminism Today) website. 

A Widow's Battle

~~~A Widow’s Battle~~~

Healing from the hidden wounds of loss,  I may 
look the same, behave the way I always have
yet inside I am broken knocked off center 
stunned and out of balance. Unfamiliar 
with who I am without my other half

No longer whole,   I am spinning 
what once came naturally 
now seems unfamiliar 

Even with my ‘I’m doing really well’
mask/smile in place, I’m rattled 
even with my familiar friends
I’ve lost the art of casual 
 conversation and feel
 a miss fit socially

The missing pieces of my life
have left a shocking hole
that may not show, yet 
leaves me feeling 
self conscious
stressed out

Healing, yet forever
analyzing what is going on 
searching how to understand and 
discover how to let my soul and body 
mend, how to rebuild a self that can be 
whole again - how to fill the gaps 
John left behind with new input 
of my own - new, yet ever 
tempered by the glad 
cells we formed 



~~ Moving On ~~

I have taken the mantle of love we wove together
wrapped it warm around my heart, anchored forever 
marked the moment to commemorate a clear beginning
and now cheerfully step into this fresh new season
this clean page, ready to write another chapter
centered, endeavoring to be whole again 
determined to find a healthy balance
eager to discover the music of

~~~ 2018 ~~~


Friday, December 29, 2017

The Mantle

Grief's mantle may never be set aside 

yet I will attempt to see its beauty

and learn to wear it graciously

honoring one worn together

subsumed now into my

Mantle of Love