Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Tribute

I just did a tribute to my father less than a month ago, so I thought I would remember my father-in-law this time around.  My sister-in-law just published an article on her father a few days ago, which I thought extremely well written.  I asked her if I could lift her article and use it for my blog.  Thanks Lily.


Missing my father . . .

Graduation Day

Rasping struggles for breath,
chest heaving—tubes in and out—
nurses in and out,
teeth out.
Munch’s gaping jaw and sunken cheeks,
knobby joints in Auschwitz limbs,
long legs once sinewy strong, and
farmer-tan arms that cradled my whole world.
I don’t think I can sing, Daddy; my throat’s tight.
I hum.  The best I can do. 
You smile.
I smooth your soft, white hair,
stroke your flaccid arms.  Was that an
“I love you”?  “I love you, too.”

Hour by hour, day after day,
night after night vigils in institutional chairs,
strong coffee, tasteless muffins,
shame for laughing round the bed.
I sing.  I kiss.  Giving and
giving when for once you can’t give back.
And you smile.  I hold your big hands,
not rugged-rough, no purple-black nails,
but soft, papery thin skin, one size too big.
“I love you, Daddy.”  You squeeze.

Gasping breaths, light
fading in your pale blue eyes,
slits behind flitting lids.
I sing tear-streaked hymns.
“I love you, Daddy.”  I squeeze.

Gone.       Still
in a breathless moment.
Under tentative fingertips, warm turns cold.
I never thought I could touch
a corpse,
but how could I not touch you, Daddy. 
It’s a last goodbye.


Lily's blog can be accessed at

Happy Father's Day

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I have on this month's calendar a picture I took of Dad driving your tractor on the your farm. That is probably where he felt most at home: on equipment, digging dirt. :-)

  3. This was my hubby's first Father's Day without his Dad. The first one is always the hardest, in my opinion. Nearly 19 years after he died, I still miss my Dad and think of him every Father's Day. Lily's tribute was lovely.


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