i warned michelle today would be tough
dakotas first shots
i was an old pro
mom of 5 and all

yet i was unable to stop
the tears flowing
as i tried – embarrassed –
all the tricks i know

bite the inside of my mouth
open my eyes wide
breathe thru my nose only
squeeze the back of my calfs tight

nothing works

my new baby girl
has cracked open my heart
leaving me powerless
reeling and raw

i remember crying at coffee commercials
in 1995 – right after parker arrived
every gurgle – smile – smell
swept me away

“i never knew love like this before
now i am lonely never more”

each and every child
has performed this miracle upon my soul
CLEAR the doctor screams
as we r jolted back to life

and death now
its familiar silent whisper
echoing all around me
a sound tattoo

life and death
love and loss
pain endures
on we go

my freshman college professor
assessing my talent said
“miss o’donnell”
“the part of rhoda morgenstern has already been cast”

i knew back then – in 1980
that i would one day tell her this – to her face
and we would laugh together
as we have

since day one
on a balcony in marys apartment
i have adored valerie
and i still do

it is possible
in one lifetime
to lose
many mothers

49 Responses to 'valerie'

  1. Chris Barker says:

    Rosie loved your essay… I know you love her and am so glad you known her a long time now. Everyone, Valerie might live quite a long time.. Do you see an expiration date on her, I don’t… Let’s pray for her.. thanks.

  2. Toni says:

    Rosie, I love reading your posts! A Valerie moment…Ms. Harper was doing a play inPittsburgh. A co-worker and I left our building for our daily walk. Out of the hotel and into our path walks Valerie Haper!!! Did I say this was Pittsburgh? She was looking for a place to buy fruit. Not too many places to do that downtown. We bought some on our walk and left it at the hotel for her!!! I often wondered if they gave it to her. We talked about our Valerie encounter for weeks!

  3. Lisa says:

    What a beautiful poem, again. You mix pain and love so beautifully! And, in your thoughts I find comfort for my own pain. Thank you!

  4. Susan Patrick says:

    Beautiful Rosie, You have always been one of my favorite people. When I heard the news about Valarie Harper I truly cried. She has been on my mind continually. It is wonderful she has included us in her life threw this whole tragic time. I keep hoping for a miracle for her!! What else to say, just heart broken!!

  5. Tom Foulkes says:

    I think everyone is still in shock, heartbroken & sad over the
    news of Valerie. May god bless her and watch over
    her through her journey.

  6. suzy says:

    What an amazing act of unselfish kindness that was of Valerie to also consider her fans and how they would worry about her, at the same time she is reeling from the news herself. And in the process she is giving strength to all who love her and making it possible to watch her forever as our dear Rhoda with wonder, joy, appreciation and awe -rather than in sorrow.
    How fortunate you are to know this gracious woman personally.

  7. Donna says:

    Not having any kids of my own, I look forward to pics of Dax. Her sweet bright face does what no celexa could ever do, and without the side effects. This poem brought tears to my eyes. So beautiful and heartfelt.

  8. Jane says:

    Well. That made me cry.
    I’m going to miss her.

  9. Lisa B. Harrington says:

    No truer words have been said. I have been in shock and in tears as well. XOXOX Here’s to Val! And here’s to us “Rhoda Rooters” who will stand behind her throughout this journey. (Although when we see her YouTube video, she’s lifing US up!–OF COURSE!) Thank you Rosie!

  10. Diane says:

    Why is it the good die young and prisons keep filling up with the bad?

  11. Michelle says:

    That is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  12. patricia brennan says:

    The second I heard the news on the radio yesterday, I felt terribly sad for her and then thought of you. I knew of your deep and abiding love for her and how hard each and every loss is for you. I am very grateful that you have your beautiful wife and all of your sweet children. At a time like this, holding a precious newborn gives such joy and peace, it helps us carry on. Love you and your tender heart always.

  13. wanda l says:

    I was so saddened to hear this news today..shes a class act..I thought of her as perfection on the MTM show..I loved her sense of humor and style..she turned me on to head scarves and showed me how to be that true friend..I will keep her in my prayers..

  14. Bobbi says:

    Rhoda pulled us right to her and over the years Valerie Harper kept us with her. I’ve always adored her as much as you can someone you’ve never met, and to learn over the years what a wonderful person she truly is…Being a Valerie Harper fan is nothing but a joy. Love and positive thoughts to a women who’s been a member of my family for nearly my entire life.

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  16. Ed Williams says:

    I had no idea you would be able to touch my heart with your amazing piece about Valerie. I am floored. Twice too.

    • Victoria Cristiná says:

      Rosie, amazing! how love can be so strong it hurts. Like you grew up watching the MTM show and being a native NY’er(long island), fell in love with Rhoda as a little girl. Following Valerie Harper as I grew up, I admired her as a strong,woman who truly stood up for her beliefs. Heard this sad news of my childhood idol and cried. As an RN in MSKCC here in NYC, it NEVER gets easy. Valerie truly is beautiful because it is from her soul. Ms. Harper, I admire you, you r in my prayers.

      • Annette says:

        Being a nurse, you might enjoy a short book called, “My Glimpse of Eternity” by Betty Malz. True story of a woman who was in a coma and dies and comes back and tells what she saw on the other side. It’s more than a medical story … she draws you into her life, sort of like a novel and the ending is unexpected. I buy used copies and give them out all the time.

        • Victoria Cristinà says:

          @annette.. TY.. will definately check that book out. I see so much at MSKCC, but what stands out in my mind in the recovery room is the hand holding, wiping of tears that the patients don’t remember because they r wheeled up to their rooms before really waking up. But it is them that I DON’T forget, I see them before&after, some repeats, sadly some never again, it is their strength and of their loved ones that let’s me do what I do. ( I still cry tho,) it hurts so bad. @ValerieHarper,#myhero

  17. cindy says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words Rosie. I am grateful to Valerie for bringin us Rhoda I hope she knows how many people were brought joy by her acting.

  18. Robert says:

    Loved Rhoda as much as you did. (I just watched the Rhoda the Beautiful episode on Hulu. One of the best. So lucky you got to know Valerie too, Rosie

  19. Susan Rezsonya says:

    Oh, Rosie, that was so heartfelt. Thank you for putting into words what we feel. My mom died of an inoperable brain tumor – it is a quick death, mercifully. MTM and Rhoda were part of my life too. Prayers for our Rhoda M.

  20. Karen Houston says:

    Thank you, Rosie. So beautifully said. I am so, so sad about Valerie. Hope she knows what she has meant to so many people.

    • Victoria Cristiná says:

      I hope so too. I wrote on her twitter feed and said, “Do you know how many people love and admire you?” I don’t care if she saw it but, I’m sure she knows and what an impact she made in TV history and speaking up for her causes as a strong woman. Keep that strength up Ms. Harper.
      Forever loved
      VC, NYC-RN

  21. denise garrett says:

    Beautiful! I love “Rhoda ” also….so much that when the MTM show was popular, my Mom got pregnant and they let us name the baby and yep, we named her Rhoda Leigh. Praying for Valerie.

  22. CarolCJ says:

    Oh Rosie, you put your feelings so well into words. Such difficult news to hear today. I loved your words, “it is possible in one lifetime to lose many mothers” and you are so right. I don’t want to think about those that I have clung to, whether it be on the tv, big screen, or in my real life, that might leave me before I leave them. It saddens me but such is life. Life sucks sometimes and today it sucks.

  23. Robin P says:

    Oh Rosie, I too thought of you first when I heard. Cancer has taken my mom, dad and sister. Hate it… 🙁

  24. Shirley says:

    Forgot to mention in my comment that I’m sure we both share the best “Rhodaism” from MTM show, when she had a date but didn’t realize he was married, so he shows up with his wife and she introduced him as “this is my date, Mr&Mrs Arment ___ can’t recall the last name but I’m sure you remember !!

  25. Suzi says:

    I’ve always wanted to tell you that we are in the same “club” that nobody wants to join. I lost my Mom to cancer when I was 10. Why does it hurt so much more now than when I was little? I’m 37 – the same age as she was. My sweet daughter, Mason is the same age as I was. I get so sad thinking about her missing out on meeting my 8 year old son, Tanner. She would have loved their laughs and it just pisses me off that she is not here to witness my life. Any suggestions on how not to be so…

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  27. Someone who gets you says:

    Rosie, I just heard about Valerie and like some other people who commented, I thought of you immediately. I went to Twitter to see if you knew and found this poem. Your words are beautiful and heartfelt. My thoughts and prayers are with you and especially Valerie. The part of the poem when you ask if its possible, in one lifetime, to lose many mothers ~ how profound and yes, I believe it’s not only possible but true.

    So happy for you, Michelle, Dakota, and the rest of your beautiful…

  28. mary demilt says:

    I thought of you too, Ro…as soon as I heard Xo

  29. Lisa W says:

    So many her have said they immediately thought of you upon hearing this sad news. It was the same for me. Perhaps we all saw her “Mother” you. Maybe we simply treasure your tender heart, and knew you would find your voice. My thoughts and prayers are with Valerie and those who love her.

  30. Margo says:

    Your words were beautiful heartfelt and true you are a great inspiration and I know Valerie Harper will thank you for those words

  31. Michele says:

    11.5 years I drove my best friend to chemo for ovarian cancer. She was the strongest, bravest, most unselfish person I’ve ever met. I miss her daily. Cancer takes too many and certainly causes too much pain…physically and mentally…yet, it also brings so many together. We should love each other, each and everyday. My thoughts are with Valerie and her family. She has spread so much love into the world. Hugs to you Rosie {{X}}

  32. Laura G says:

    I too thought of you first thing today when I heard the news about Valerie; she has always been one of my favorite performers. She radiates joy. You have quite a way with words, Ro, and your writing gets me at my soul. Bless you and your beautiful family.

  33. Michele in CA says:

    Beautifully put. When I heard the news this morning, first I gasped, then I cried. As someone who lost her mother to cancer, my heart goes out to Valerie’s daughter, Christina. Every time a daughter loses her mother there’s one more woman who morns the loss of all mothers everywhere.

  34. Michelle Bernheim says:

    Ro, You’re words are so beautiful! I don’t have the words to compose here how eloquent & wonderful your writing talent touches my heart. You have Nora’s spirit in you that’s for sure and my heart goes out to you today as I knew it would be hard for you when I heard the news. Stay strong, thank you for emoting and connecting your thoughts to paper, your voice is important and one which needs to be shouted out loud and often. I so admire your ability and capability to love. thank you for…

  35. T/S says:

    I heard the news this morning and it made me cry. & for some reason I immediately thought of you. Maybe I have heard you tell that story about Rhoda before I don’t know?
    I lost my mom to cancer last year & still so real so raw. You are my litmus at times. Meaning: At 48 I lost my mom & my world is still a crumble. You lost yours so young & managed to continue. I tell myself this on the bad days. Get up, go, like Ro.
    Hard to go on. But on we must go. <3 to you & yours.

  36. Victoria Corkran says:

    You are so thoughtful & kindhearted. I feel exactly the same way about my sons. I love life but I have loved it even more so with them. And Valerie Harper has brought so much fun & so many smiles to our world. What a wonderful life! Thank you for sharing your warm thoughts.

  37. Betty says:

    I was waiting for you to respond. I was devastated this mornning when I read about Valerie. I grew up watching Rhoda and Mary. Rhoda will always be someone who made an influence in my life. I pray that a miracle will happen and we won’t lose her.
    Your words are heart felt, Rosie. Thank You.

  38. Andy says:

    This is a beautiful poem on a devastating day. We all ADORE Valerie, how can one not? My heart broke a little today.

  39. Lisa says:

    Made me cry. Thank you for this. Valerie is a powerhouse of a mom spirit. Always has been. Even as Rhoda. Her strength, her intelligence and her warmth come shining through. I already miss her. And that’s not fair to her. But I hope she at least when she leaves us, she can feel the love from all of us surrounding her.

  40. KellyW says:

    Ditto what Ron said above. Beautifully said Ro. You have such a way of describing your feelings in a way I can physically feel when I read them. Keep your heart open. You will never regret that.

    I’m sorry about Valerie. 🙁

  41. Tina says:

    So moving and beautiful. Thanks for sharing Rosie.

  42. Deanna Meadowcroft says:

    A beautiful, raw poem. It’s not fair that loved ones are taken from us. Enjoy every moment.

  43. “it is possible – in one lifetime – to lose – many mothers” Got me right there. Go towards the light.

  44. Ron says:

    This is beautiful. I love you Rosie.