In Memoriam: Theresa Sonnleitner

Last night, we got word from my sister-in-law that Stephanie’s mother had passed away the day before.  She was 97 years old, not so great health (stroke took her, but fairly quickly) — but had had a good life, raised a big bunch of wonderful children (who went on to have families of their own), and in her later years was the dictionary definition of "feisty".

Most importantly, in a time when relations with my own family were non-existent at best, Ma, the matriarch of the Sonnleitner clan, made it very clear she considered me her daughter, too.  During one of our last conversations when we were in Wisconsin for a visit last autumn, she told me, "You can’t get away.  You’re one of us now and always."

For her, I post this poem.  It wasn’t written specifically for her…but I think it fits.


Words lead to the empty spaces
a bowl overhead
so vast as to exert
its own spiritual gravity

Shriven of earthly anchors
we souls drift
ever upward
ever more swiftly
plummeting into blue
then purple and black

Passing through
back into light
most pure
banishing shadows

an itch
a need to breathe
the ringing Arathi bell
calls the souls
back home

One day though
the call
will go unheeded

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