In Memoriam – Rhona Saffer

I went today to the memorial service for a dear friend who died this past summer of breast cancer.  All agreed that she was funny, bright, warm, brave, strong and beautiful.  But the theme that resonated most was her extraordinary kindness and care for others.  Because of this compassion, she sometimes “mothered” her many friends; but, of course, she was especially devoted to her own children.  (They, like her, are wonderful people.)

This is a poem (a pantoum) that I wrote for her, during her lifetime, after she told me how she feared and regretted the pain that her death would cause her children.  Although any mother could relate to such feelings, they seemed particularly emblematic of her courage and selflessness.

The Last Thing
For Rhona Saffer


Know that,
when I must go,
I will love you
just the same.

When I must go,
I know it will not feel
just the same.
There will be cool air—

I know it will not feel
like my lips—
but there will be cool air
caressing your face

like my lips,
while your smile only,
caressing your face
(oh reflection of mine),

will be your smile only.
I never wanted to cause you pain,
oh reflection of mine.
That was the last thing

I ever wanted to cause you. Pain.
No, I would love you—
that was the last thing.
Just the same,

know, I would love you,
I will love you,
just the same.
Know that.

She was a much loving, much loved, person;  she is sorely missed.

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30 Comments on “In Memoriam – Rhona Saffer”

  1. David Feldman Says:

    Beautiful poem. So sorry for the loss behind it.

    • manicddaily Says:

      Thanks. It’s been very sad. Of course, her friends’ loss is not comparable to her family’s loss, but she was a very good friend to her friends.

  2. David Feldman Says:

    Indeed I had written “your loss” and changed it thinking just that.


  3. This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the link. It reminded me of my own mom who died of cancer when I was only 23. I can’t believe she’s been gone for more than half my life. Thank you for this glimpse of how she must also have felt, something I had never considered.

    I love how poetry can mean one thing to the writer but become something else also to the reader. Peace, Linda

  4. brian Says:

    this is lovely and i am glad you shared it with her during her time here…i would love to get something like this from a friend as it truly was heartfelt…beautiful…


  5. I feel like bowing in silence to this poem. Thank you so much.

  6. claudia Says:

    such love-filled words for your friend…so sorry for your loss

  7. Beth Says:

    Beautiful and poignant. She was blessed by love

  8. Sajeevs blog Says:

    touching and inspiring:)

  9. ShonEjai Says:

    A wonderful tribute to your friend! Well written!

  10. marit Says:

    did you write this poem? it’s excellent

  11. hedgewitch Says:

    You’ve captured the essence of love here–anything I could say would be trivial in comparison to your portrait of your friend.


  12. This is so sad an such a tragic sickness cancer is. My brother died of cancer and I know how this can really change all our lives. Thank you for such a wonderful piece and so a lovely way to remember your friend.

    http://gatelesspassage.com/2011/09/11/the-sorrow-of-our-times/


  13. True to the heart of a dying mother indeed. I’m sure she would’ve gladly owned these words.


  14. Vulnerable writing. Thank you.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Beautiful poem- I just read it again after 2 years casue I still my my friend Rhona. I Like telling you this. dm

  16. jim seymour Says:

    I loved Rhona from the moment I saw her forty years ago. It never stopped, though I hadn’t seen her in thirty years when I learned of her passing.. Her kindness, bravery, laughter, and love enhanced my life beyond measurement. I mourn her today and keep that love close to me because it makes life’s pains more manageable. Thank you, Rhone.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    This is such a beautiful poem. Thank you for this…

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thank you for your comment as it is a reminder today of my dear dear friend. k.

      • Dulce Mac Says:

        Rhona & I were in high school together & stayed pals till the end. I was missing her today & found your poem. She just keeps on being a friend. Nice to know you loved her too. That makes me happy.. Dulce in California

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Hi Dulce–I recognized you from your name before, as I remember how very kind you have been to Jonathan and all the kids. Thanks much for your comment. k.


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