Friday, March 13, 2015


I'm participating in the month-long Slice of Live writing challenge at Two Writing Teachers.  This year over three hundred teachers are slicing every single day for the entire month of March. Head over there and read some more slices.

And then most Fridays, I participate in POETRY FRIDAY. If you are in the mood for a little poetry, head on over to Laura Shovan's Author Amok. Her featured poem, "Shame is the Dress I Wear" is gorgeous. Can't wait until April, when Laura will be featuring poems about clothes and Mary Lee will be writing poems about emotions.

I've been administering the PARCC test all week, proctoring back-to-back-to-back sessions for a whole bunch of different grade levels.  As a proctor, I've had lots and lots and lots of time to think…

"The Things That Matter"

On Wednesday, I heard sad news about a friend 
we had gotten our administrative licenses together 
and then she went on to be a principal
and she was kind 
and she loved to laugh 
and always put kids first
a year and a half ago she retired to spend
more time with her husband and grandchildren
And yesterday, her husband 
shared this post on Facebook
 It is with great sadness that I share with you 
that my beloved wife, 
and best friend Anita 
passed away the morning of the 10th of March. 
Preliminary examinations are that it was heart failure. 
She died peacefully in her sleep. 
She will be missed. 

and this morning I'm thinking about 
kindness and laughter 
and relationships and best friends

this morning I'm thinking about
the things that matter

And yesterday one of our sixth graders 
came in late,  like she often does,
holding onto the hand 
of her kindergarten brother
like she always does
because she is basically raising him 
while their mother
struggles to feed her family 
and put clothes on their backs
and on her late slip she wrote, "Family Problems,"
and when the teacher asked her if she wanted to talk
she burst into tears and they went out in the hall
and she said that her grandmother only has four days to live
and her teacher hugged her and loved on her and they cried
and then, brave girl that she is 
she went down to the auditorium 
and she sat down at a computer 
and read nonfiction articles 
and wrote for 90 minutes straight
on a big deal test 
that is really no big deal at all

and this morning I'm thinking about 
heart and perseverance
and putting one foot in front of the other
when life is really, really hard

this morning I'm thinking 
about the things that matter

And on Mundane Faithfulness,
a blog I follow, 
the wife of a pastor, 
mother of four children
her oldest daughter maybe twelve,
is spending her final few weeks 
lying in a hospital bed
loving on her husband and children
as metastasized breast cancer ravages her body
and two or three times a week 
friends write guest posts 
on her blog about lessons 
she has taught them
about hospitality 
and kindness 
and faithfulness 
and love

So this morning I'm thinking 
about faith
about living
 and dying 
and friendships
and legacies 

and so this morning I'm thinking 
about the things that matter

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2015


Unknown said...

This is so reflective and beautifully written. It is so important to stay focused on the things that really matter. As you have shown, we never know what each day will bring.

Mary Lee said...

This morning I am crying. That sixth grader is breaking my heart. All of them, really. But her, especially. Give her a hug from a stranger in Ohio and tell her I think she's amazing and I'm glad a person like her is in our world.

(And thank you, Storyteller, for moving me to tears with your words!)

Author Amok said...

Carol, your open-heartedness pours through in this poem. Wishing some peace to you, your friend's husband, and your student during this time of grieving.

Tara said...

So much to process, Carol...what a world we live in. I am hopping that you get a moment to yourself, to gather in. That sixth grader - I've been thinking about her since you first wrote about her , Carol, what a strong spirit.

Linda B said...

I am glad that the sixth grader feels good enough to tell her problems and get some support. Sometimes they carry that weight without anyone knowing. Prayers go to your other friends for the sadness in their lives, and to you who carries some of their pain, too, Carol. Wow, sometimes days hit hard.

Kim Oldenburgh said... much sadness. I read this twice and I am still speechless. I'm sad for the husband who lost his wife. I'm sad for the child who is losing her grandma. I'm sad for the child who is raising her brother. I'm sad a test feels so important, but this focus was probably what she needed this day. I'm sad for women who get breast cancer and can't live to write about it. I'm just sad. Thank you for sharing.

Chiara said...

Carol, this poem is touching. I read it yesterday, but I had to go back and reread today, as I learned of someone who died this week. She was not exactly a friend but I knew her from an intimate setting, saw her a few times a year, and chatted on line about a trip to Italy she planned a few years ago and for which I gave her some ideas (I'm from Italy and go often). Things that matter indeed. Thank you for offering the perspective we all need.

MaryHelen said...

I am sorry to hear about your loss. You wrote a beautiful poem. I am thankful the young girl was able to talk to someone.