A Poem from Long Ago: “For You, Mom, On Your Brother’s Death”

My uncle Nathan, my mother’s brother, would have been 70 this month. He was only 40 when he died in 1988. Sad and shocked, I wrote this poem for my Mom at the time and it was part of his memorial service.  Just today, I found it while browsing through old files from my Dad’s computer; it is sweet that he kept the poem all these years.

For You, Mom, On Your Brother’s Death

Love, the wind, God, memories:
all intangible,
all to be touched with
thoughts and feelings,
not with fingers.

All so precious:
lives, souls, people.
Does one quit existing
when the breath is gone
     or
simply become an intangible,
touchable with thoughts,
with feelings,
like the wind?

Can we not summon Nathan
by thinking of him?
Is he not crystallized
into being in those
vignettes of him that
we remember?

Isn’t he still the same young
man who made
risqué remarks about the
pantaloons on my
doll Elizabeth,
because I remember
him that way?

Won’t I make a present
of a never-known great-uncle
Nathan
to my children by
conjuring his image,
remembering him that way?


With the wisdom of hindsight, I wish I had spent more time talking with my Mom while she was still alive about how she dealt with her brother’s death. I didn’t know then that I would also lose a younger brother while in my 40s.

Nathan and Steve 1966
Nathan holding my brother Steve; both would die young but leave lasting memories and wonderful children

Reading this (clumsy) early poem of mine again in the wake of my Dad’s death just six weeks ago, I still feel the same way about touching the intangibles, conjuring the images of the loved ones through stories and memories.  My Dad is sitting on my shoulder right now, next to my Mom.

Nathan Kim Nancy 1965.png
My Mom, her brother Nathan, and me, 1966; shocking to see that cigarette
Nathan.png
A cocky young Nathan while he was at Texas A&M Galveston earning his degree in Marine Transportation

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Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

5 thoughts on “A Poem from Long Ago: “For You, Mom, On Your Brother’s Death”

  1. Kim, I am so blown away by all of your writings….you are such an inspiration to me. I love you! I really missed out when you left. I really missed you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. It is only recently that I realized my Mom and I had losing a younger brother much too soon in common, and sharing this poem from yesteryear helped me to process those feelings. I really appreciate your comments and am glad it touched you. Perhaps there has been a Nathan or a Steve in your life in some way.

      Liked by 1 person

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