Sunday, April 4, 2010


After A While

©1971 Veronica A. Shoffstall

"After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn..."

I love this poem. My sister, Terresa, gave me this poem in college and it hung on my various college walls above my bed for years. I would read it and reread it while I thought about my life and what the future would bring. Over time it came down from the wall and I lost it.

Recently I was reminded of this poem by my courtyard garden. I love flowers. I love receiving flowers. I love giving flowers. I haven’t been willing to spend our hard-earned money on cut flowers for myself (as my husband and sons could care less about flowers in the house), so I plant flowers for myself that last a bit longer.

I found the poem today and wanted to share its message. I love what Veronica Shoffstall tells us girls and women about goodbyes and planting your own garden.

Goodbyes happen in every stage of life. We say goodbye to our parents and go off to college. We say goodbye to the single life and get married. We say goodbye to childlessness and embrace our babies. We say goodbye to friends and family when we move. We say goodbye to marriages and relationships when things don’t work out. We say goodbye to our loved ones when someone passes away.

This January I said goodbye to my grandma, after a lifetime of fun and craziness with her. I learned so much from her and miss her every day.

This summer I’m saying goodbye to my 30’s and embracing 40. Wahoo! They say 40 is the new 30. If Demi Moore can make it look good, so can I!!! Ha ha!

This year I’m saying goodbye to having anymore babies and looking forward to spending the time I’ve got left (8 brief years) with my 2 boys before they say goodbye to us.

I was told once from our wise Heavenly Father that I should always look forward in life. He knows me so well. My tendency is to look back on “the good times” and live there. I need to be prodded on once in a while. He knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t do live in the yesterday. Sometimes I have to say, “Goodbye.”


  1. Move over Demi, here comes Cori!!

    Great poem, it pairs well with your courtyard flowers.

    The best is yet ahead, right? As they said in conference today, the beginning may be rough, but the end will be better.

  2. Well put. It seems like we 3 sisters are all saying a few different "good-byes" to things in our lives right now...Who knows what future "good-byes" may come. Maybe it'll help a little to remind ourselves of the original Old English version of this, before our modernization changed it: "God be with ye."