Note: Recently I drove past the hospital where my father had died. I realized that the day was the seventeenth anniversary of his death. My mother, who has yet to recover from the loss of my father, was in the car with me. Thoughts such as these whirled through my mind.
The night Dad was to die,
He was hundreds of miles from me away,
And so did my childhood then seem.
With memories already fading like a dream,
We jumped in the car and drove all day,
Reaching the night Dad was to die.
The night Dad was dying,
I arrived as he was taking life’s last breaths,
The one who had seen me take my first.
Each of us seeing in the other the pain of the curse,
That life is just a gasp, and then comes death,
Grieving the night Dad was dying.
The night Dad lay dying,
His earthen hand in mine began to yield,
When, with sudden grasp, concern for my infant son arose.
Later, with tiny hand ’round my finger wrapped, “How,” I pose,
“Quickly death follows on birth’s heels,”
Pondering the night Dad lay dying.
The night death came to Dad,
He struggled to speak his love for me,
A body broken the key to a long-closed heart.
How his words tore me apart,
Bringing forth tears so hot, so free,
Feeling the night death came to Dad.
The night Dad died,
His departing soul touched mine,
Impressing upon me the mortal that I am.
Putting in me the longing for the land
Where I will be, by promise divine,
Forgetting the night Dad died.