Dad’s Last Day
I’m working on writing a commencement speech for a community college back east, and in looking for inspiration I went back to some old blog posts. Here’s one that I wrote about my Dad’s last day a couple years ago. With some of the recent deaths this week, take a moment and reach out to a loved one, and let them know that they are.
No stress awakening,
Still relaxed from the previous evening’s celebration
Shirtless in shorts, I shake off the cobwebs
Pace across the catwalk over to your room.
Today’s the day you leave again for Tijuana.
That clinic’s giving us our last clinging hope.
I’m praying with a heightened faith I’ve never really experienced before.
This is the visit, This is the one, This is the turning point
You’ll be reinvigorated, You’ll be brought back to the work still left unfinished.
You take my arm, I take you downstairs,
Assisted step by step til we get you in the Backyard.
You remind me of the vitamins of the sun,
Your simple pure gratitude can’t be more powerful
And more different than the language your frail body speaks.
We watch football, and you come in and out,
But in it enough to hi five a score for the underdog.
I encourage you to just get a couple bites down,
Spoonfuls of lettuce wrap filling,
With a kiss for Ate and I, Mom’s watching on, sun peering in at her back
Mundane to the untrained eye
But profound to mine, seared onto my mind’s eye
Cause today, there would be no Mexico,
Just a realization…
If your spirit proves to be far greater than that of your physical
Is it fair to still keep you here when you have higher work?
So we say our goodbyes,
20 of us gathered in the living room now
Your vision blacked out, your consciousness sporadic,
But your triumph is near.
You rise on your own, lifted by some grace
You gaze panoramically at your family assembled,
And breathe in its essence, refreshing you to a peaceful resignation.
We call the ambulance
For maybe we just might be able to hold on for awhile longer.
I trail the ambulance,
my mind failing to grasp the stark reality.
Into the emergency they say it’s only low sugar,
But I see a different story,
Code Blue, Code Blue, Code Blue.
The eternity encased within those minutes
Exponentially more excruciating,
Then any moment that’s ever hung within my balance
But it came: “Who want’s to call it?”
Then silence and worry, turned to static, the onset
A rush of emotion with no equal I have ever met,
Emergency room wailing, ripped from the movies.
But time has passed now
Hindsight viewed clearly through the rearview, your higher purpose now being met.
Just know that every lesson you’ve pounded and reiterated
Is engrained, and I carry it with the greatest honor.
My life forever forged on the path for this certain greatness you believed possible for myself, I will
carry it on just like you said, Dad, I will carry on your dream to inspire.
Love you, and I’ll see you soon enough.