Jorma Jr. and mom Beatrice 1942

Photo by Jorma Kaukonen Sr.

Mothers Day Blog 2020

Sunday, May 8, 2022

It is 2022 and another Mother’s Day is upon us. It is not a thought that I dwell on but it occurs to me at moments like this that growing up my mother was the most important adult member of our family to me. My dad was gone so much of the time, first WW II and then his jobs with the Department of Labor and subsequently the State Department where he would work until he retired.  Mom was my Cub Scout Den Mother. She taught me to ride a bike and how to drive a car. She would always be my fierce defender whether I deserved it or not. She loved my brother Peter and myself above all else!

In May of 1998 she would begin her final journey. My brother told me if I wanted to say goodbye I should come to California immediately which I did. Thanks to Peter’s prompting I was able to be present for the last two weeks of her life. Before I left Ohio I had the opportunity to write this song:

Song For Our Mother

By Jorma Kaukonen

April 27, 1998

Fur Peace Ranch

Meigs County, Ohio

Strength unto my life she was before I was a man

Daddy’s off to fight a war in some far-off distant land

He don’t come around much just at special times of year

But Mama always holds our hands and puts away our fears

‘Come and take a walk,’ she’d say, ‘down by that old Pierce Mill

And listen to the water passing by the rocks and rills.’

‘That old grey goose will bite you, but you can feed the ducks,

Trust your heart in all you do, you won’t have to trust in luck.’


Mama tried to teach us to be strong

And keep walking against the wind even though your hope is gone

It don’t matter how alone you are today

‘Cause if you keep on walking hard, you’ll find a better way

Many years have come and gone, now that I’m a man

My bro and I are all that’s left in this part of our clan

Daddy won’t be coming back, he’s fought his final war

And Mama’s eyes look far away, for some distant sho

She wanders in her mind now to that old tobacco farm

When she was just a girl at play in my grandfather’s arms

He strokes her hair with loving hands and sends her on her way

To walk across this century, which brings us to today


My brother sits beside her bed and holds her hand so tight

He looks upon her shuttered eyes, will she make it through the night?

The what she is remains today, the who she is, is gone,

But what she’s done in both our lives I know will linger on

Her favorite books are closed now, her favorite song’s been sung

For her boys who stay behind her, she’s done all that can be done

She’s going to see her friends now that have vanished for so long

She’s on the road beyond the stars…

She’s going… going… gone

My brother, Peter, would play his tune Hospice Shuffle and we would play Song For Our Mother together. They say as you are passing the last thing you are aware of sound… I hope she heard us.

She was already mostly in another world by the time I got to San Francisco but she rallied once, grabbed my hand and opened her eyes. ‘My dear one… my dear one…’ Her eyes would close and her journey continued.

Peter and I would go to Mill Valley to get Beatrice some flowers for Mother’s Day and when we returned after that short trip, she was gone.

In Many Houses, Anonymous

In many houses

all at once

I see my mother and father

and they are young as they walk in

Why should my

tears come,

to see them laughing

That they cannot

see me

is of no matter:

I was once

their dream:


they are mine. 

I did not write this… but I could not have said it better

So, Mother’s Day brings a sundry of different emotions to my table every year. Putting my little corner of the emotional universe aside, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the happiest of Mother’s Days to all the moms out there in the cosmos.

You are all our ultimate source.

Bless you!


  1. Comment made on August 27, 2022 by Jean S.

    thank you for sharing your beautiful tribute to your Mother. You searched your heart to write it. Blessings.

  2. Comment made on May 20, 2022 by Phil g

    When my Mom passed, you sent me “In Many Houses”
    It was of great comfort.
    I have shared it with countless friends in the 9 years since, when their parents transitioned to the next place (wherever that may be)
    Thank you for your kindness and friendship and everything else you do for us.
    May her memory always be for a blessing

  3. Comment made on May 11, 2022 by carey georgas

    Man, if you don’t never say hey to a stranger, you won’t never know what you might miss. I was at the gas pump, and this older than me geezer struck up a little conversation about gasoline. Not the price, but how slow the damned pumps were. Well, one thing leads to the other, come to find out he’s from Liverpool. Came over here in the 80’s to work at NASA. Here’s what I would’ve missed had I not said hey: in his youth, he would hang most weekends at The Cavern. For the girls, he was quick to say, but he saw the Fab Four regularly before they were fab. He also said there was another after hours club, the Pink something or other, where John Lennon and other musicians would come and jam together acoustically until the wee hours. First eyewitness to the prehistory of the Beatles I ever met. Glad them pumps were so slow. I got me a tasty earfull of esoterica. Peace.

  4. Comment made on May 10, 2022 by Chappy

    Very nice, Jorma. Thanks for sharing. My Mother passed on a few months back (Sept. 2021) at the age of 93. She had 92 1/2 great years and a few rough months at the end and she was a trooper through it all. Miss and think of her everyday. She was a great mom to 7 kids (6 challenging ones and one saint 🙂 of course) and a wonderful Nanny (i.e. Grandma) to 17 grandkids. She was an OU grad and met my Pop in Athens back in 1948. Blessings to all Moms!

  5. Comment made on May 8, 2022 by Hogan

    Thank you Jorma.
    I hope Vanessa had a good day.
    Beautiful tribute to your Mom. I know it’s been the toughest job I have ever had but the most rewarding.
    Awesome picture.


  6. Comment made on May 8, 2022 by carey georgas

    The photo was ‘nuff said, the prose, the song, the poem were all a very rich gravy. I read a very poignant description of birth by a mother the other day amid all the recent hoopla. “Birth is a mother’s gift, not a fetal right.” I give thanks today for my mother’s gift to me.

  7. Comment made on May 8, 2022 by Joey Hudoklin

    Would love to hear that song Jorma. ♡

  8. Comment made on May 8, 2022 by Bill from Wisconsin

    Beautiful, Jorma! Spoken for so many of us. It’s said, we’re walking each other home. And, thanks for Friday morning at FPR. It was a moment I’ll cherish. Love.

  9. Comment made on May 8, 2022 by David Bray

    Very nice Jorma.

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