Monthly Archives: January 2014
It’s been a strange time. Not as hard as I imagined it would be, yet harder still for the loss.
“Life goes on,” he always said. And, of course, it does. Just without him in it. This is what we do. We follow the days forward as we always have, and laugh or smile or cry as is appropriate to the time. These are good days. Everything is as it should be. But n occasion, I’m stopped short by the realization that if I called his number, which is still in my cellphone call list, he would no longer answer. But we never really talked all that much anyway.
But he remembered things. Growing up poor in cotton country in North Texas during the Depression and a father who died far too early. He remembered football games I played and Little League teams he coached for my brother. My children’s birthdays and my wife’s cooking and the time when when I was a baby and he missed the ending because I was crying and he had to walk me in the lobby. He later, much later saw the end of ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ on TV and found it, ‘a pretty good movie.’
Someone once said that as long as we remember the dead, they never truly die. Perhaps that’s true. I certainly hope so.
When Irish poet Seamus Heaney died in August 2013, I was reacquainted with his work and one in particular hit home. So, Dad, you never cared that much for poetry – except for Hank Williams – but this is for you.
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horse strained at his clicking tongue.An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.