Friday, October 9, 2015

He Was Just Here

You have to understand - he was just here
in August,
holding my baby girl and hugging my niece downtown
by the waterfall in the park
His face was the first we saw
(who will be up to greet us now?)
at the hotel, my father of course
already up and out on a walk
with his hotel coffee in hand.

He was just here
at my daughter's birthday party
her very first
(the only one he'll have attended)
Buying groceries with Mom and I last-minute
Making friends
As easily as he breathed

He was right there
on a bench, holding my baby girl
as she finally warmed up to him,
this grandfather she's only seen a few times
(that she will never see in person again)
She babbled and giggled with him
I fell in love with the moment.

I'm not sure how here became there
so quickly, without warning
how we became the children
who visited "the site of the accident"
(shaking hands for seven hours next to a closed casket)
how we went from laughing on a bench downtown
to never seeing him again
so quickly

How did here become there
become the way I dread this Christmas
(and all the other Christmases, too)
how I find myself picking out flannels at L.L. Bean
In just his colors, just his size
only to remember
I no longer have someone to buy a flannel for

I don't understand how here
became gone.
How did it so quickly turn into
the way the stories will have to change
(he is no longer here to tell them)
or how the tenses have to shift from is
to was. I hate the word was.
I never hated it before.

Please, you have to understand -
he was just here
I did not see him go
(I always assumed I would say goodbye)
He is a shadow standing at my shoulder
A voice in the back of my throat
The ground underneath my feet
That gives way all over again every day

How here became there
became gone
is the mystery I rage against
(I ask God, but get no answer)
the inevitability I fight like hell
the truth I'd love to be in denial about
Denial stubbornly will not come

Gone is our good-natured arguing about everything
Gone is my father's laughter and smile
Gone is the standard by which I judge everyone

He was just here in August.


  1. (((Hugs))) Your pain is real and hard. I'm so glad you can write about it. I'm very sorry for your loss.

  2. Also sending a hug... I'm just so very sorry. Keep writing it out.


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