IMG 6427 817x1024 - Goodbye Mom

She was orphaned at five when her mother died

Her dad still lived but he was out of the picture

He was a train engineer, always away

Maybe that’s why the sound of a train gives me a rush

She lived in houses with other people

Not ever a home to her

Except for the Goodson’s who took her in

For a while she lived on a farm

She had a horse she could ride

She never wanted to leave there

But she had to

She was born with 4 older brothers

One by one she lost them

She bore 4 sons then had me

She graduated high school in 3 years

To get out of the hell house she lived in

She went to college and met her man

He fell head over heels in love with her

Her beauty and the way she saw the world

So unlike anything he had ever known

From different sides of the tracks they were

He became a bomber pilot

She gave him 5 children in 7 years

She never really fit in

She was an enigma, filled with a wild view

She rescued Irish setters

She allowed any and every exotic animal

To be rescued by the rest of us

From owls and hawks

Snakes and an alligator

Repiles, amphibians, mammals

Bottle feeding raccoons and squirrels, skunks

Chimpanzees and other monkeys

And whatever came our way

We were the Folger Family

Iconic in Cincinnati back in those days

She stood in picketing lines

Against animal testing

I was pulled from my class to assist

In rescuing some poor Irish Setter

From an abusive home

My favorite story was the day

I was walking home from school

And a crowd of kids were throwing rocks

At an apartment building

I yelled to them to stop

So they turned on me with the rocks flying

I was just as tempermental as mom

I ran home while they laughed at me

I broke through the door yelling

“MOOSE!!! ERIN!! BESSIE!!!!!!!”

Those were the three most terrifying dogs we had

A Weimaraner, an Irish Setter and a German Shepherd

I leashed them up and ran up the street

That crowd of kids ran in fear

Into the lobby of the building

Locked in a small space

They were trapped and I yelled at them

“You come out of there or we are coming in!!!!”

The dogs were right on cue

Sensing my rage they growled and barked

And bore their terrible teeth

And leapt at the leash

Displaying a terrifying scene

The boys and girls- teenagers

Came creeping out

Hugging eachother and crying and begging

It was then I heard the sound

Like a river of slashing barks

Here she came, around the corner

My mom, with 7 more dogs

It was so funny I almost fell over laughing

But for the seriousness of the situation

Which demanded my rage to display

She looked like she was plowing a field

Leaning so far back so as not to fall forward

The pulling of 7 Irish Setters

Well, I was never more proud of her

So before hell was let loose

I told those kids to leave and never come back

I said, “If I ever see you again

There will be no leashes!!!!”

To this they all ran screaming

And crying up Madison Lane

Mom and I retreated home

No words needed to be spoken

The men were not there

We took care of it

God I love that memory

There were so many stories

Too many to tell today

On this day, the time has come

For all the years we missed

I wish it were not so

For all the times we did not see eye to eye

I wish it were not so

I wish you knew my kids

I wish you could know my grandchildren

I spent so many years wishing and praying

But I am glad for how we found eachother again

After Barney left us

We had time to spend

Even at a distance

It was better knowing you were there

It has been a long journey

It was not fair what you went through

A child should never have to suffer as you did

But it will be your laugh I remember

Those times at a holiday

When people of all existences were given a seat

Your table was extended to all those

Wandering souls…

You understood them, welcomed them home

There is never enough time to find yourself

Never enough time to mend the wounds

Never enough time to heal completely

And then you were taken bit by bit

That horrible disease took you step by step

I remember the last time I saw you in Key West

We talked for a long time by the sea

You said the most healing thing to me

“I really wish I had known you before”

Of course by then you forgot I was your daughter

But I told you the same- I wish the same

But we have eachother now….

Time, distance, enemies of the soul…

But your hero never left your side

He stood with and beside you all the days

Of your over 66 years together

He told you when it was time to leave

You were waiting to hear this I know

For who knows how to say goodbye

Goodbye now Mom

You left us a little while ago

But today, you are laid to rest

You will be with Barney now

Your amazingly crazy, hilarious

Adventurous, beautiful son

My Irish Twin

And your mother and father

Your brothers and so many more

I cannot be there today, to say goodbye

To stand with your man

To hold his hand as I would do

Because that is just the times we live in

No visit to say goodbye

No holding your hand

No telling you what I needed to say

But you know now don’t you

Once you saw through a foggy lens

Now you see with clarity

That I was here all the time

Loving you and wanting you

And I am so grateful you kept insisting

One more child

Till you had a girl, that was me

I know I was not what you thought I would be

But in the end

I love you, always did, always will

You did it

You made a family

A legacy to be proud of

From Ted to Mike to Jeremy To Barney

And to me… we are your legacy

We will always carry you with us through our children

And our grandchildren

Your gift of sight to believe in mysterious things

You never got to take a dancing class

Or painting or singing or anything else

But you gave it all to me

I will now try even harder to give this

To myself and my own

But so much more

To any and every foster child

Or kid who never was given the chance

You should have been a great talent

Your songs and dances should have happened

But in private you were a writer..

So I will remember this last thing..

One time as a teenager I asked you

“What do you think I will be when I grow up?”

Without hesitation you said

“A writer”

I had never done that… but everyday you did

You wrote and wrote

When I started this blog it was because of you

I am no writer

I do not know how to do it right

But I will write and I will make sure

That others like you

Will get the chance while they are still young

To express themselves creatively

To have a shot at finding their voice and

Healing their wounds

But I will need something from you to do this

Infuse me with your ideas

Inspire me in the sunrises and sunsets

And let’s do it together

You in your newfound freedom of eternity

And me trapped in this world

Show me the path and I will walk in it


Today Dad will be by your side

As they lay you to rest..

I am there in spirit

I know you are already gone

But I miss everyone so terribly

The sharp pain will ease

Time heals

But you, for all we went through together and apart

I will look for you in nature

That is where you saw the universe

And so do I

You know why

Against all odds

I am your daughter

I will always carry you with me

When the sunsets tonight

I will see you waving goodbye

And when it rises tomorrow I will hear you

In my heart whispering

Be who you were born to be

And I will

I promise to do my best

Bye for now Mom


The Sarah Hale Folger Project seeks to inspire greatness in humanity by sharing inspiring stories with the world. Please contact me here on my blog or through my website at

Sarah Hale Folger is a Creative Consultant, Artist, Singer and Educator. PLEASE make sure to subscribe to my blog today so you never miss the next thing happening in the world the way I see it! Please feel free to comment, share and please, subscribe to my blog. Thank You.

Mom and dad - Goodbye Mom

7 Comments on “Goodbye Mom

  1. Wow. Wow and Wow. This is worthy of a documentary. An amazing life.

  2. I remember your Mom so well. As you said, the door was ALWAYS open. My love for animals, much like your family, was nurtured by you and your family. The crush us little gals had on your older brother, and walking Moose and Erin. Playing with Peaches, and all the other animals. Your Mom always let us come over. And I too, remember her always smiling. What a BEAUTIFUL tribute to your Mom. I love you to the moon and back.

    Your Little Sis


  3. You say you are no writer; then write so eloquently, and so heartfully. I never knew your mom, and barely have gotten to know you, and your loss and your love and your sense of family and your love of animals and nature…and sunsets touches my soul. My mother, now ninety-one, never uses the words good-bye. Every parting ends with “I love you,” because she believes, as do I, that our souls are attached, and even if we lose touch in this world, we will catch up in another. The sharp pain of initial separation turns to an ache that sometimes throbs when you forget they’re no longer just at the end of a phone call, or a plane ride. But then invisible arms of memory enfold you and make you smile for the connection that goes backward and forward in time. No one ever fully leaves you. No good-byes. Just I love you.

    • Wow Robb- so glad you wrote this. We have similar souls… I’m so glad we are on the sane team. I really appreciate your heartfelt words.

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