I will, ’til I can’t

Most of those closest to me know that my father died on my 24th birthday, and with his passing, I’ve come to revile anything that had to do with it. A few months ago, I started to come around to the idea of celebrating it. I managed to keep it together pretty well this year (even though there seems to be something dreaded about turning 30) and I was not even upset by my mother bringing me a cake. It actually felt good to acknowledge the day.

Upon seeing my editor, Mark, yesterday (he was my dad’s best friend), I was reminded of the fact that I stopped writing for years after losing my dad (yes, I term it “losing” him because it’s much harder to say what really happened). Mark brought up the fact that he encouraged me to write a poem about how I felt then: crushed, alone.

I wish that my dad could have seen what my life is like, what my sister is like. I wish he could have been there for me on my wedding day, to meet his grandchildren. And instead, he will be a ghost: an ever-present cautionary tale of what was and what could have been.

When a parent dies, there is an overwhelming sensation that nothing will ever be OK again. Luckily, that’s just a feeling. Things return to normal; they get better. And while I will never forget him or what he taught me (not) to be, I know that such a loss is not uncommon. At the same time though, it seemed to take over my life. This is how I felt:

And one


It started in my hands

As I held in them his present for all todays

Staring in the ICU that held onto florescent light and machines

Looked into the eyes

That have been likened to mine

For a moment I saw he was happy

And I have nothing more to say


I held in my hands a second beer

As they covertly pulled me into my mother’s room

“you’re sitting me down”

“Dad’s gone”

And my stuttering was hastened by alcohol while it stifled my fluttering


I prayed and I fell and I slept alone

And I have nothing more to say


Now his own hands have taken what I never really had

A father addicted to feeling nothing and in one breath

He halted

With Morphine and Beam and I am screaming at him for taking

It all

Pounding my knuckles into my steering wheel

And I have nothing more to say


2 thoughts on “I will, ’til I can’t

  1. I so admire and appreciate the expression of emotions in your poem…I have lost both of my parents and have no siblings, so in a sense when my parents died I lost my entire childhood and early adult family.

    I purchased a book that was supposed to help (but really did not) entitled
    “Nobody’s Child Anymore”…..the title really says it all

    By the way, I just finished your book…..you are right to diligently pursue writing as your career because yours is a voice worth hearing

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