Come the Dawn


  Today is September 11th and it is a day that all Americans can remember where they were on that day.  Usually I couldn’t tell you where I was yesterday, but I remember exactly where I was when I turned on the tv and saw the second plane slam into the World Trade Center.  I would have been working that day, but my mom had passed away 2 days earlier and therefore I was off work, barely able to function.  We found out 6 weeks earlier that she had inoperable lung cancer at the age of 63.  How does a daughter prepare to lose her mother?  The woman was my constant ally, my sounding board, my friend, and the person I respected the most in my life.  The day before she died, she wanted to do something nice for my dad, and go to “the boat” in Iowa.  It was something they enjoyed doing together and out of respect for her, dad, Kelly and I  loaded her, the wheelchair and the oxygen and took a final road trip to fulfill her wishes.  She was so beautiful that day, and even serene.  We sat side by side and played the same penny machine, each taking turns pushing the button and quietly enjoying what would become our last day together.  The next day when I went to the house after church dad motioned me to her side, because she was having trouble breathing.  I told her that we would move her to her chair when she could catch her breath, and with that she took my hand in hers and died.

Four years later, I am caught up in the middle of divorce proceedings and facing another loss, so to speak.  How I wished my mom was with me because she would know just what to say to make it better.  Nobody goes into a marriage thinking they are going to get a divorce, but sometimes circumstances change and people grow apart.  I have such respect for people who have had long and happy marriages.  What do they do differently?  You are caught in such a vise because often times if you leave, you cause so much pain for the children involved, but often times don’t have the heart to continue trying.  For the first time in my life I was alone.  I had gone from home to marriage, and now I was on my own.  There are such strong emotions on each side of the “divorce table” and sometimes you forget who you were in the first place.  Would I be able to handle everything that comes my way, with each decision depending solely on me?   My dad became my rock and protector, so to speak.  He always kept an eye and things, and was there to give me advise on how to do this or that.  He knew the turmoil my heart was going through and sometimes I swear my mom was working through him to advise me?  The day of the final meeting to work out the divorce agreement, I got the call that my dad was being rushed to the hospital and I needed to come right away.  I arrived just as they were preparing him for surgery.  He had an abdominal aneurysm that had burst and he died of cardiac arrest on the table.

Now was the time to accept the fact that I was truly flying solo.  A friend at work, Mary Jo, had recently gone through a divorce and gave me a poem that still hangs on the side of my refrigerator.  So many times my mom would tell me “Go to bed, things will be better in the morning”.  I want to share this with those who are going through, or have gone through a divorce or a bad break up and are feeling down. We are taught as little girls that we will grow up, get married, depend on our spouses and live happily ever after.  For me, the dawn did come but I am still a work in progress, as are most of us.  Dedicated to all strong women in this world…….


By: Veronica Shoffstall

After awhile you learn the subtle difference

Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn’t mean security,

and you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

and presents aren’t promises.

and you begin to accept you defeats

With your head up and your eyes open.

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all of your roads

on today, because tomorrow’s ground

is too uncertain.  And futures have

a way of falling down in  mid-flight,

After a while you learn that even

sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,

instead of waiting

for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure.

That you really are stong,

and you really do have worth

and you learn and learn

With every goodbye you learn.


3 responses to “Come the Dawn

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