Jun 152017

Six years ago I wrote this post about Father’s Day. I just came across it again and have to confess I have zero recollection of reading the poem or writing this post. True, it is short, but I typically remember things like that. My grief at the time was like a haze. In my experience, that’s kind of how grief works – it becomes a fog between our vision and everything else – the only thing we can see, yet also never┬áreally clearly visible. I still miss my dad and think of him often. So much has changed in the years since he died. Whoa, so much. Yet, I am far enough out to be able to say that I am proud to be part of his legacy, complicated as it may be.

His Stillness, by Sharon Olds

The doctor said to my father, “You asked me
to tell you when nothing more could be done.
That’s what I’m telling you now.” My father
sat quite still, as he always did,
especially not moving his eyes. I had thought
he would rave if he understood he would die,
wave his arms and cry out. He sat up,
thin, and clean, in his clean gown,
like a holy man. The doctor said,
“There are things we can do which might give you time,
but we cannot cure you.” My father said,
“Thank you.” And he sat, motionless, alone,
with the dignity of a foreign leader.
I sat beside him. This was my father.
He had known he was mortal. I had feared they would have to
tie him down. I had not remembered
he had always held still and kept quiet to bear things,
the liquor a way to keep still. I had not
known him. My father had dignity. At the
end of his life his life began
to wake in me.