Tag Archives: Death

Daddy Isn’t Here

Daddy isn’t here anymore
He left this world before my son was born
Yet I see him each day in the heart of my son
The length of his arms and the smile I adore

We didn’t follow Daddy to the church
When he was gone no one read God’s Word
We didn’t sing his favorite hymn
Or even lay him in the ground

The Coast Guard poured him into the sea
There’s no grave to visit for you and me
Just memories of his loving ways
Stories to tell that keep him alive in our hearts

The mad money he sent to my college mailbox
The times he rescued his four daughters from car troubles
The smile on his face when he saw me baptized
Memories of when we sometimes didn’t agree

Daddy isn’t here anymore
He’ll never come again and knock on my door
But one day we’ll see him again, waiting at God’s door
Until that day we’ll miss him, you and I

* * * * *

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was to write about someone or something we miss. I immediately thought of my dad. I’ve been missing him especially lately as I’ve been listening to (and went to the concert of) Chris Stapleton who sings a song called “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore.” I can’t hear that song without crying and missing my dad. Parts of this poem are inspired by that song as well as conversations I had with my oldest sister this past week.


Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Poetry

The End and the Beginning

Over at dVerse Poets Pub today Gayle is asking us to write Japanese death poems, preferably in the tanka or haiku form (though she said we didn’t have to adhere to strict syllable counts). I decided to write a tanka, which I’ve never done before. I don’t know if I followed all the rules, but I did stick with the 5/7/5/7/7 syllable counts.

My poem illustrates how I hope I will face death some day, at least this is my plan. I didn’t set out for it to rhyme, but it does, so there you go.

The End and the Beginning

My wandering over,
my suffering now to cease,
my eternal home
in sight, now my hope and peace
embracing the sweet release


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I’m Not Ready — Dual Dodoitsu

My first dodoitsu, a Japanese poetry form new to me that I learned earlier this week from Kanzen Sakura. I’m sharing it today for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night #154.

I’m Not Ready

I am not ready
for autumn at all, pumpkin
spice everywhere, and rainfall
I guess at least there is soup

And here’s my second, because as I wrote the first sort of humorous one, a more serious poem came to mind as I thought of the memorial service I’ll be attending this afternoon for the wife of my old boss. I’m sure he was not ready for her to go.

I’m Not Ready

I am not ready
for her to be gone from me
but I know she was at peace
ready to fly away home


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Bette, My Sweet Pea

Today is National Dog Day and so I decided to write a poem about a dog I once had. I could have written a poem about my current dog, but I’ve already written several about him, such has this one and this one. But I don’t think I’ve ever written about Bette, the cocker spaniel I had for 18 years.

Bette, My Sweet Pea

Bette was the cutest little sweet pea
a friendly and curious puppy
but life started out a little rough for her
when she lost an eye due to curiosity

Being a one-eye dog didn’t slow her down
though it did cause her to run into the bottom step
if she was running at a good clip
to get into the house ahead of Bogart

She wasn’t much for fetch, would never bring the ball back
but she did love a good game of tug-o-war
and hiding the tennis ball from Bo
and swimming in the lake or wading in a stream

She lived eighteen long years
that were far too short as far as I’m concerned
and I miss her reddish blond mug and floppy ears,
I miss her cute wagging stub of a tail each and every day

I remember the day I knew without a doubt
she couldn’t go one more step, one more day
She’d been missing Bo for quite some time
and that stupid new kitten Tom made her life a struggle

The pain in her face, in her whine
was more than I could take that day
so I did what had to be done
impossible though it was to imagine life without her

The vet was so understanding and gentle
and the change in her countenance from agony
to complete peace and rest
made the impossible almost tolerable

Afterwards I asked God why
Why didn’t He just take her in her sleep
so I wouldn’t have to make the decision to let her go
“Because then she would have been alone,” He said to my aching heart

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Stop Throwing Stones

If you spend any time on social media and have conservative Christian friends or follow conservative Christian feeds, then no doubt you have seen numerous posts lately decrying the murder of innocent babies. Especially with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the release of undercover videos of meetings with Planned Parenthood officials, it’s impossible to avoid these posts. I will admit that I’ve shared or liked a few myself, though I am always careful that the right message is coming across in the post when I do.

I see a huge problem with the way the pro-life position is presented in social media. If not done carefully and gracefully, it amounts to throwing stones at hundreds of thousands of women who have had abortions and lived to regret that choice. We know what we did was wrong and have lived with the shame of our choice—some of us for decades. We can’t undo what we did and your insensitive posting of “Abortion is murder” messages only causes us more shame and guilt, delaying the healing for many. Even those of us who know God has forgiven and redeemed us can be hurt by these posts.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a conservative Christian myself, in the sense that I believe the Bible to be the Word of God and that it contains the whole truth about God and how His people should live. I am also pro-life, though I was not always. But on the abortion issue my heart is more concerned with the women who were lied to or were in a situation where having an abortion seemed like the only possible choice, and are now suffering from depression, suicidal tendencies, or PTSD, or who are just living a life of fear that someone might learn their secret.

One social media post I saw recently that illustrates the type of insensitivity I’m talking about is this cartoon:


Frankly, I don’t believe this is the scene in Heaven. Why would a baby in Heaven wish to be on earth? Why would a baby in Heaven “wish” anything? Wishing is for those without faith. People who know God pray, not wish. And these babies know God—they rest in His tender care.

I believe all of the babies who died as the result of an abortion are instead kneeling before the throne of Christ interceding for their mothers. I believe they are asking God to have mercy and praying that the Church would show them grace. I believe they are asking God to remind the Church of His words: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7). I believe our children want those of us who killed them—either because we didn’t know what we were doing or because we were between a rock and a hard place and couldn’t see any other option—to hear Jesus say: “Then neither do I condemn you. . . Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11).

The Church—meaning the people of God and each individual one of us—has to stop throwing stones at women who have had an abortion. We have to choose instead to show them grace and mercy, to help them heal in Christ. I say this as one who needs that grace and mercy every single day just to survive.


Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Women

The Philosophy of Choice

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was offered by Brian Miller, back from a 5-month break from the pub. During his absence, he took a philosophy class and so is calling us to write about philosophy, with the requirement that our poem be titled “The Philosophy of ______” or “A Philosophy of ______.”

When I first read the prompt, I thought of writing something lighthearted and funny. The title “The Philosophy of Dogs” came to mind, but that’s as far as I got with that idea. I remembered that Bjorn once commented on one of my poems that my writing is better when I write from the heart. Although I do love dogs, and mine in particular, what is really on my heart these days is something much more serious. And so this poem was conceived.

The Philosophy of Choice

The philosophy of choice says
that the convenience of one life
is equally as important as
the continued existence of another

I once bought into this philosophy
and  I chose convenience
I had my whole life ahead of me
my college plans, my career, my life

And so I chose my convenience
and her death

I thought I was justified because
the conception was not my choice
It was forced upon me and so
I shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced
by this life I didn’t want

It was supposed to be so simple, so easy
but no one told me about the regret
the shame and the anguish that would come
that would inconveniently lead to depression
stealing seven years of my life
coloring every day thereafter

The tears I’ve cried over that one choice
would drown a small army of giants
Perhaps I had to cry every tear
she never got the chance to cry

The time for choosing is long past
But if I had it to do over again
I would choose my inconvenience
and her life


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Monsoon of Mercy

At dVerse Poets Pub today, Abhra tells a tale of the monsoon season in India. The “prompt” for the day is fairly vague, so I drew from Abhra’s story about how the hot, dry summer is followed by the monsoon. And I tapped into the discussion in the comments to Anthony’s post Pub Talk: Poetry and Making a Difference. I’ve written this as a Kyrielle because I’m finding a like this form a lot. It has just enough repetition to suit me.

Monsoon of Mercy

Sin and shame deeply scorch my soul
Freedom from consequence my goal
But my choice left me dry, not whole
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy

She was the victim of my choice
Never will I hear her small voice
Yet in His arms she can rejoice
Healed by His monsoon of mercy

Now there is no condemnation
Only grace for Your creation
Regret remains a grave fixation
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy


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Slips Away

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister Peggy lately, perhaps because her death is the subject of the first chapter of the book I’m working on. Yesterday the refrain for this Kyrielle came to me and then I finished the poem this morning.

8/20/15 update: Shared today for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night #153. Head over and check out some other great poetry.

Slips Away

Quiet descends on deep darkness
My soul housed in this jar of clay
Groans bitterly in God’s winepress
Her soul slips silently away

Regrets of wasted time oppress
Why did I wait another day
I am here now nevertheless
Her soul slips silently away

Over memories I obsess
Jesus come save her soul I pray
His peace descends on me to bless
Her soul slips silently away


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Nothing to Fear

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself

and bears if you’re in Yellowstone
loneliness if you’re all alone

failure if your theory is flawed
sickness and death if you don’t know God

Yet if God is on your side
there’s nothing to fear
just trust and abide

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You Can’t Go Back to Tuesday

I’m working on my book proposal today. I posted the draft Prologue last week. I’m determined to finish the proposal this week so an editor friend can review it before I submit it to the publishing house editor who requested it at the Faith & Culture Writers Conference. I had a breakthrough this week when I realized the Chapter 1 I’d drafted started in the wrong place. This is the beginning of the new Chapter 1.

I’m planning to include a poem on the title page of each chapter. The poem for this chapter is one I wrote a week after the events recounted here.

You Can’t Go Back to Tuesday

Last Breath

in, out again
no other sound so dear
except if you spoke, one more time,
I’d hear.

I sat in that suffocating little room with my sister Suz, my brother-in-law Dick, and the shell of my sister Peggy. When I had arrived earlier in the day I wouldn’t have known it was her in the bed if Suz hadn’t also been there. I hadn’t seen Dick in 28 years; he’d changed, kind of looked like Grizzly Adams after a month in the woods alone.

And Peggy, she didn’t look like anyone I knew. The last time I’d seen her she didn’t look too bad. She admitted the cancer was back, but she covered up how bad it was pretty well. And she had been hopeful, ready to fight and win again. But she wasn’t going to win this time—she would breathe her last in that tiny, sterile room with just the three of us there.

I’d woken up that morning with plans to go to the dentist in the morning—even though I was dreading it—and then in for my annual mammogram and breast MRI. On Friday I was going to go visit Peggy in the hospital. I was told she’d probably be feeling better by then.

But Suz called early that morning and said Peggy had taken a turn for the worse. “You should come as soon as you can. Dick said she was pretty bad.”

I called my cousin Noryce to tell her what was going on with Peggy and to just talk. Noryce always has good advice and knows just what to say.

“I don’t know what to do. I have these two appointments I have to keep, but I want to go see Peggy. Maybe I can just wait until tomorrow to go,” I said. “I should have just gone to see her on Tuesday.”

Noryce, in her infinite wisdom, replies, “You can’t go back to Tuesday. What are you going to do today? What’s the worst that could happen if you cancel your appointments and go? What if you wait to go until tomorrow and she’s already gone?”

She knows the story of when my dad died and I wasn’t there. He had called me and said, “Come see me.” But it cost money to fly to Desert Hot Springs where he was and we didn’t have a lot of money at the time. So I bought an inexpensive ticket for two weeks out. He died a week later. I will always regret that decision.

So I called the dentist to cancel my appointment, worried that they would be upset and charge me for the appointment anyway. “Don’t worry about it. Go see your sister. Give us a call when you’re ready to reschedule.”

Then I called the hospital to cancel my mammogram and breast MRI. They were even more understanding given that my sister was dying of breast cancer. I don’t know why I was afraid they wouldn’t be.


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