A Poem for my daughter

Our precious daughter died Tuesday last, after years of illness related to an addiction. In spite of it she was a strong, outdoor person, devoted to the landscape and its creatures. She was my climbing buddy for many years.

Against the odds, my wife, Janet, and myself were allowed by the hospital to be with her for the last thirty minutes of her life. I intend to write more about her, but today I am simply placing on this page, a poem I have written and a photo.

ELEANOR MAIR 1971 – 2020

Excuse me saying you were competitive

When climbing mountains with me. Young

And fit from heavy backpacks you would drive

Robustly upwards past me if my lungs

Faltered. I’d catch you when you lit a fag.

It wasn’t just physical: you’d sussed the route

So accurately from the map you’d brag

You knew each twist and turn; and any doubt

Of mine was squashed, even if it was right.

Yet awed by space we could be quiet together.

Now huddled in this bed you’re mute and still

Without your mind’s protest or body’s fight;

But with what a delicate wee puff of breath

You overtake me on the final hill.


  1. Beautiful and very moving, Mike. I look forward to what you will write about Eleanor and her life. I know her memory will be with you and Janet for ever. God bless you and comfort you. And I’m so grateful that you were allowed to be with her at the very end. That was a gift to you from our loving heavenly Father.


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