Tag Archives: Death

Remembering Dad

My dad was the best.

I remember when I was a kid how with gloved hand he would take each bullhead off the hook so I wouldn’t get cut by their spiky fins.

I remember how he taught me to shoot a BB gun in our backyard.

I remember how he let me play in the stacks of tires in his shop and then give me money to go get a Mister Misty at Dairy Queen down the street.

I remember how he would drive me to church and Missionettes and youth group meetings every week in middle school.

I remember when he took me shopping to buy my first pinstriped suit for speech and debate class.

I remember him saying he was going to buy me that Dodge Charger for sale on Main Street then bringing home a Ford Maverick instead because he got it for the price of the tow bill and a new engine that he put in.

I remember opening my mailbox at college and finding a card from him with the note “Here’s a little mad money for you. Don’t tell your mom.” and 20 bucks inside.

I remember that he came to my college graduation but not my wedding 4 months later because my mom was too sick.

I remember the huge smile on his face when he came to my baptism when I was 23.

I remember his last call, when he said “Come see me,” but I didn’t hear the urgency in his voice so I bought a plane ticket to Palm Springs for 2 weeks later.

I don’t remember who called to tell me he’d died a week later but I do remember the darkness that followed.

I remember the turbulence on the puddle-jumper from Portland to Palm Springs and wishing it would just crash.

I remember listening to “Indifference” by Pearl Jam and wondering if the pain of losing him would ever go away.

I remember many more things about my dad, but most of all I remember that he loved me and he died far too young.

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The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is to write an “I remember” poem.

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I Never Said Goodbye

January is the cruelest month
despite it’s shimmer of hope
It’s when cancer took you
I was twenty-three
Hadn’t yet made amends
for the pain I caused you
Still drowning in my own
Your death only added
to the shame
of not measuring up

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This quadrille is doing double duty today. It includes the dVerse Poets Pub word prompt from Victoria and offers my thoughts on the cruelest month for the NaPoWriMo prompt.

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It Was Murder

It was murder, pure and simple
He was an innocent man
the perfect spotless Lamb
and they murdered Him

If it weren’t for Nicodemus
and Joseph of Arimathea
His body would have been
devoured by a murder of crows

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The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is “for the birds.” De wants us to write poetry using one or more of the many names for flocks of birds. I decided to write about a murder, a murder of crows, that is.

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Choices

A forced grin
a false I’m okay
are all I’ve got

It’s been three years,
three years today
since you left

with me not knowing
not for sure anyway
where you have gone

Heaven or hell
those are the choices
Which did you choose?

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At dVerse Poets Pub today we’re writing Quadrilles with the word “grin.” Because today is the third anniversary of my sister’s untimely death-by-cancer, I knew I wanted to write something about that. Then Bjorn threw me for a loop with the word “grin,” which is generally a happy thing. But sometimes grins aren’t what they appear.

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More Than a Friend

Preparing to attend today
the burial of a dear old friend
And by old I mean she was 43 years my senior

Still, I loved her like a sister
and at the same time she was mentor,
prayer warrior, confident, and encourager

I thought of the many friends I have
who are so much older than me
who will also likely be heading home
to be with our Savior before me

This is not likely to be the last funeral
that I will attend to honor
a sweet and dear friend

And then I pondered some new friends
Women who are younger than me
who are newer in their faith
and I realize I want to be
for them like a sister
But also a mentor, prayer warrior,
confident, and encourager

I want to be for them
what Norma was for me
What Carol, Lin, and so many others
still are to me every day

When it is my time to go home
and be with our Savior
I hope and pray that
there will be women like me
who will attend my service
feeling blessed by having known me
because I pointed them to faith in Jesus
and was His hands and feet in their lives

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I’m 95 Today

Today is my 95th birthday
and I’m tired
I can’t catch my breath
and my chest feels tight

And I’m tired, so very tired
It’s good to be out of that
awful hospital bed
At my daughter’s house instead

The trips from the hospital
to the rehab center and back
were getting old
Too old for this old lady
Too tiring for this old widow

I should tell you I’m 95 today
I don’t know why the Good Lord
doesn’t just take me home
I’ve been asking Him
for the past five years

I’ve told Him I’m tired
I don’t have the strength
to even get out of bed alone
And I miss Lou something awful

All I can do is pray
and so I do, I pray
maybe watch a little football

Did you know I’m 95, just today
It’s my birthday
I’m tired of birthdays
I hope I don’t have another

I’m just so very tired
I think I’ll just drift off
take a little nap
before family comes to visit
and they expect me to be social
Just a little nappy

Hey, what’s all this?
A birthday party just for me?
Lou, is that you? What are you doing here?
And Jesus? Is it really You?
You threw this 95th birthday party
just for me?
I always knew You loved me

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The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar today is to write in the first person. I do that a lot and so it didn’t seem like much of a challenge. But then Victoria suggested writing in first person but as someone else. I decided to write from the perspective of a dear old friend of mine who passed away a couple of weeks ago and whose memorial service I will be attending this weekend.

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She Always Called Me Sweetie

The little room was suffocating
I sat there with my sister Suz, my brother-in-law Dick,
and the shell of my sister Peggy
I wouldn’t have known it was Peggy in the bed
if Suz hadn’t also been there
I hadn’t seen Dick in 28 years; he’d changed,
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
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

I’m not a fan of hospitals or of cancer
Twice when I was young my mom went into the hospital with cancer
She’d survived but her hospital rooms were no more pleasant than this one

As I listened to the beeping of the machines
Feeling the oppressive pall in the room
My mind drifted to memories of my dear sister
Of how she always called me Sweetie

Oh how I wanted Peggy to open her eyes right then and say,
It’s okay, Sweetie
But it wasn’t okay
She wasn’t going to wake up and reassure me
I’d never again hear her voice

As darkness descended outside the window,
It crept into the room as an impending doom
And we waited, quieter now

The quiet in the room became noticeably quieter as Peggy stopped breathing
At that moment I prayed that God knew her heart
I prayed that if she had not been a believer, as Dick said,
That Jesus would have come to her in her sleep, in her dreams, and called her soul home

I prayed that I would hear her voice again someday in Heaven

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I’ve already posted my Lenten poem for today, but the dVerse Poets Pub prompt for today was to write about a room or a memory involving a room, and I immediately thought of a chapter I had previously written about my sister’s death. I decided to take that chapter and reduce it to focus on the room. I was going to save it to post and link tomorrow, but I changed my mind once it was done.

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I See God

I’m going to pretend that this rain
in the lane
Heralds the arrival of spring
when birds sing
As through this long winter I trod
I see God
The robin finds worms in rain-soaked sod
More death and winter the nightly news portends
Yet new life and spring my dear Christ forfends
In the lane when birds sing I see God

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Just had to write a second Ovillejo for dVerse Poets Pub.

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Promise of Hope

copyright kanzensakura all rights reserved. Used with permission.

copyright kanzensakura all rights reserved. Used with permission.

For the dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday prompt today, Toni (aka kanzensakura) has asked us to write a haibun inspired by this photo of hers. Check out the prompt for a description of a haibun and to find the link to a lot of great haibuns that will be posted throughout the week. Here’s mine.

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I awaken to an unexpected blanket of white outside my window. It’s beautiful, with flakes still falling, floating really, to the ground. I should relish the beauty, but I can’t because I know it will soon turn to ice. It always does around here. As a result church is cancelled, school is cancelled, work is delayed, and Bible study is cancelled. I stare out at the bleak beauty and spy a small pink bunch of flowers blooming. They weren’t expecting the snow either. In them I see a greater beauty, a hope and promise of spring to come.

God eternally
promises a return
of life after death

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Alive and Well

A puff wafts from the doorway of the old building
I scrunch up my nose at the scent, shake my head in disgust
or anger perhaps is a more accurate description of my feeling

I don’t smell it often in these days of indoor smoking bans
Mostly when walking downtown, passed old buildings
on my way somewhere that will be smoke free

Today that scent reminds me of them, but it’s not the good memories
It’s the memory of what killed them, their obsession with Old Gold
bare-butt cigarettes, in the house, the car, the trailer out camping

I prefer the scent of eucalyptus and fresh garden dill
that remind me of better days when they were alive and well
at least as well as two chain-smokers could be

That foul scent also reminds me of embarrassment
at being accused of smoking myself by a 7th grade P.E. teacher
because the stench of their smoke was inescapable for me

I glance into the doorway at the young woman smoking
I want to scream at her, tell her how stupid she is
I want to ask her if she wants to die before her grandkids are born

But I don’t, I simply move on, away from the smell
and consciously shift my focus to memories of better days
when they were still alive and well

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The first prompt of the year at dVerse Poets Pub is to write about a scent or scents that evoke memories. This is the first thing that came to mind yesterday. I tried to come up with something else because I didn’t want my first post of the year to be such a downer. But alas, sometimes we simply must write down what’s already written in the mind.

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