Family

When my brother and his wife, Doug and Shirley Sinclair, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June, 2009, my gift to them was a poem about all the family memories I could recall. Near the conclusion of the poem, which actually became a book, called “The Book of Mingled Memories”, I wrote a verse to which I think many people might relate:

Like every family, we’ve had our ups and downs, and a few ruffled feathers, it’s true,
But “blood is thicker than water” they say, and it makes a very strong glue!
 
I have often thought about how each family is like a microcosm of society and if we could somehow all manage to co-exist peacefully within family units, the wider world would be a much happier place.

I dearly love the family into which I was born, and I want to pay tribute to each member by posting a poem written in the Spring of 2010. At that time a painful decision was reached to sell our property in the Beaver Valley in an attempt to downsize and simplify our lives.

Writing poetry has always helped me to process the significant events in my life, so of course a poem was bound to emerge in my efforts to emotionally detach from dear Shalamar. Each family member has contributed in some positive way to my 14 years spent in Kimberley, Ontario, and each family member seems to have a special place in his/her heart for this dear home where many happy Christmas celebrations and other family get-togethers took place.

My parents, Jim and Margaret Sinclair

To the visitors who come to my website, I hope that this poem helps you to reflect upon how your own family has played such a significant role in your life. If there is healing to be done within your family, I urge you to do it now before the hands of time might snatch that opportunity away from you.
 

I Once had a House in the Valley

I once had a house in the valley, constructed of field stone and love,
It came to me straight from Heaven with a message from God above.

He said: “Take this house and enjoy it, and share it with others on Earth,
Let it heal you and bring you a measure of comfort and peace and mirth.

The family, who lived here before you, saw that you needed a home,
Yes, the Webers suggested I give you one of my favorite spots to own.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy, for you still had your work to do
With all of those wonderful children needing skills I had given to you.

But I knew the soul of a poet who lives in the heart of you
Needed a place in the valley where dreams could someday come true.

So I surrounded you with dear people
who would help you and lighten the load,
And some guardian angels for mercy
on those lengthy trips down the road.

I chose David for house inspector, as you crossed your fingers and prayed,
He reported, “All’s well, except water
might present a few problems one day.”

And wasn’t he right on that evening
when you discovered a flood by surprise?
I had to send a few problems to keep the stars from your eyes.

But each challenge has made you stronger,
and you passed all the tests on the way,
Thanks to your friends and your family who loved you enough to pray.

I gave you the finest of neighbours to bring you great joy and delight,
The ‘salt of the earth’ to guide you and protect you both day and night.

And my plan for each family member unfolded as years passed by,
They were there to share in your pleasure, allowing your spirit to fly.

I knew that my beautiful Nancy would help you with costs as they grew,
For she manages money much better than ever you’ve learned to do!

And your brother, Donnie, was watching and sending assistance your way,
From the real estate market in Heaven
where he builds me a mansion a day.

Margaret saw how you loved the valley;
she enjoyed all those drives in the car,
When together you witnessed my rainbows
and wished upon the same star.

And your Father wanted your Mother to have a place to rest and to see
All your family getting together around your first Christmas tree.

It was Doug who brought you this symbol of festive holiday cheer;
He advised you on many issues that surfaced throughout the years.

I knew Ken, Marie and their family would add such joy to your days,
You could watch while Kerri and Krista blossomed in so many ways.

I knew that your bond with ‘Doug’s Shirley’
would grow as you shared your views
On how to re-cycle possessions...you managed to buy quite a few!

You furnished your home with treasures; some of them came to you
From Glenn’s expertise in the sales barn - I listen to auctioneers, too!

And heirlooms of priceless value were given a home in your care,
Entrusted from dear Aunt Margaret - I saw your attempts to be fair.

Did you see how I gave you good tenants to help you pay all your bills?
I’m glad you acknowledged my presence and followed the path of my will.

To help you I sent Anne and Larry, and others who came with them too,
You’ll remember those winters of laughter
With all of the fun things they’d do.

How you marveled that Chris and Jessica
Could fly down the slopes with ease,
They brightened your days with their sunshine,
You thanked me on bended knee.

When Shirley and Lloyd came to visit,
They’d take you to Steve’s for a meal,
Then stay overnight in the guest suite
So everyone got a good deal!

You know I sent Wesley to help you to manage your dear Shalamar,
When you couldn’t commute any longer in your rapidly-aging car.

And visits from Ross and Marcia were filled to the brim with fun,
As Eric and Ian explored your world - your own special place in the sun.

Roy and Pauline kept the landscape like a painting where every view
Took your breath away in amazement that all of this could belong to you.

The Rose of Sharon, still blooming, was delivered by Ross and Joan,
And Andrea shared great cat-tales in person, by letter or phone.

Kind words from Isobel Bridgman gave you courage to spread your wings,
And so many others assisted with all the important things.

A gem known as Audrey Duncan played a pivotal role for you,
Providing your city lodgings and cheerful companionship, too.

I brought you Aunt Hazel and Linda to be part of the Sinclair clan,
With Ruth and Elwood and others, each person was part of my plan.

Your house offered peace and healing to all those
who passed through the door,
Many left with a feeling of lightness - who could ask for anything more?

Then one day I knew a great sadness would fall on your heart so free,
For the friend you knew as your Mother
Was called home to live here with me.

So I sent you a special angel - I carefully selected him,
Knowing you’d help one another and that you could depend upon Jim.

He took you to faraway places, great vistas of beauty to see,
His grandchildren’s laughter will linger
In the shade of the “story-tree”.

But the time has come to make changes - a new chapter waits to be read,
The valley has taught you its lessons and now you must go on ahead.

Though your heart will be heavy with longing
For the sacred place you’ve called “home”,
I promise you future pleasures and you’ll never travel alone.

Just trust in this new beginning and take all your memories along,
The pathway will open before you and your heart will hear a new song.

For nothing on Earth lasts forever; I designed it exactly that way,
But don’t worry - Heaven’s like Shalamar
And there’ll be no mortgage to pay!”

- written by Sharon Sinclair
with gratitude for answered prayers

 

Poetry Speaker, Sharon Sinclair

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