I Lost That Poem About My Mom

Ric Seaberg


My mother, Lorraine Snyder Seaberg, was diagnosed rather early in adulthood with Parkinson's disease, which she fought valiantly for many, many years. Her therapies included medicines, surgeries, on and on. The first physician she complained to about her symptoms told her to "go buy a new hat". She ended up in a care facility at a rather young age too. I know my sisters Elaine and Julie, and even our various partners over our lives (Elaine is the fine person who has had only one partner, her awesome husband, my bro in law Tom) would agree with me that we wish Mom could have had better health, she was a fine person, really intelligent, conversational, even funny. I personally would sometimes dream about how life may have been for her, (and us) had she been able to live a more healthy life.

In the 1980s our family owned a cool beach house in Manzanita, Oregon, (actually belonged to our grandmother Hildur, my Dad's mom). Grammy loved it at the beach house, and both my sisters and I would ferry her down there for a weekend now and then, and of course sometimes we would go with our partners or spouses, kids, it was grand. 

Occasionally I would drive down by myself to perform some task, I guess I was number one handyman. One year, I even planted a bunch of dahlias in the front yard. And we had a contractor add 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. Once, in probably 1985 or 86, I was driving down there, on highway 26, past Seaside, past Cannon Beach, past Arch Cape, and on to Manzanita. I started to dwell on the issue of my Mom's health, or lack of health, how her life was hard and not that fun, and I suddenly started to get some words for a poem. I can remember pulling over and writing it, rather excitedly. If you are a poet or I suppose an artist of any kind you can probably relate to the moment that you are driven to create, some people call it the zone. For me, that day, it was an all encompassing need to get down on paper my feelings about Mom, and the thrust of the poem was my imagining of her had she been a healthy adult. I longed for her to be so. I only remember one line which went, "I see her there in faded jeans, baking Danish, canning beans". I would pull over every so often, at Cannon Beach, or into lookout points along the way, to write another line or two, on my yellow legal pad. I remember being so very satisfied with my work, like I had succeeded in encapsulating how I felt deep down in my being about Mom. I felt I had nailed it. I was so happy. 

So I did my jobs at the beach house and stayed overnight, and then somehow, some way, I lost that poem about my mom. I have really never gotten over it. And the poem here is a poem about losing that poem. No way is it as good a poem or as meaningful as the one I had poured myself into about my mom. But it will have to do.


I Lost That Poem About My Mom

Ric Seaberg



I lost it! Damn! I lost that poem!

I lost it at the beach or home.

Like ripping off a part of me…

Words can’t express this loss for me.


I’ve lost my mind! I’ve gone berserk!

I may have even burned that work.

I try to keep it off my mind,

I tell myself, “be still, unwind”.

Still it streams back to punish me,

To see how wretched I can be.


Is this a test, a little joke?

A pun on us forgetful folk?

‘Cause there is not remorse enough

Nor could I ever be that tough

To weather this absurd mistake.

Dear Lord, may I please have a break?


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