top of page
  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Memories of The Charles

A year ago last summer I entered into The Falls, where my mother lived for the last year and 1/2 of her life. It was mid August, the weather outdoors was warm but indoors, as it always was at The Falls, it was cool and cheery. The living room was darkened and a few women and a man sat on the sofas and easy chairs.The residents were seated in a circle and a woman about my age sat among the residents to conduct a meditation class. Before she began she got up from her chair and approached each of the residents and dabbed some of essential oil on their wrists. Mom sniffed hers and settled in to begin.

The teacher settled into her chair and all of the residents began to relax. The music came on slowly and gently. I had never heard the piece of music before or the artist, but the song was about a river flowing and its emotion added a layer of beauty and emotion to the atmosphere. Feeling the music run through me, I sat next to my mom on the couch. Mom's head was on my shoulder as the music continued. I held her hand in mine as she slept on my shoulder for a few peaceful and beautiful moments. Now, more than a year later, I can still feel mom's head on my shoulders, her hand warm in mine and that beautiful song by Miten. (see below) The lyrics, not surprising to me, were about a river.

While mom lived at The Falls her very favorite thing to do was to sit by The Charles River. For hours each day she spent hours sitting outdoors contemplating the river. Knowing that her brain was failing her, I wonder what she thought of as she stared for so long at the river flowing by her so quickly. She regularly remarked on the direction of the water and the branches that long ago had fallen into the rapids. I know how much comfort the water gave her and perhaps her failing mind gave her a different perspective to think more creatively about its flow and beauty. She had an acute interest in the small details of wildlife and movement across the river and almost seemed to be making mental notes about its form and function.

A few times during her last summer, in August, 2019, I asked mom to reflect on the river. Here are her words. I will call her poems River in Three Parts.

Charles River in Three Parts by Irma Gershkowitz

August, 2019


Bubbling  Making music Little birds A Musical  Has its own melodies  Fallen branches love the waterway  They fall into the water Carried to the other side From Boston Loud Growing softer Flatter A treat for me Bricks underneath Peek at the top Birds fly by Music to my ears Messages from the river 2. The water rises Heavy branch Floats on the water  The water rides up Boulder Large  In the deep of the river  Rising high Black  Big Motion of the river Carries the rock Motion Turbulence The rock rises up 3. Trees Some empty Look! See the growth Soon will sit on the river's edge Carried to the opposite shore --

Here is the song that mom and I listened to together. Please take the time to listen to it. It is haunting and beautiful.

May this blog serve as a type of jewelry box, which I can open someday and pull out memories one by one. May mom's memory be a blessing and may her spirit flow through the waters of the river.

Irma by the river, dreaming sweet dreams. August, 2019

23 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page