For My Dad

I wrote this for my dad in December 2007, a few weeks after he died…

* * *

Last night I stood beside you in your hell, forgotten on a battlefield littered with corpses, your throat torn out, your limbs immobile. Gently I rolled you onto your belly so the blood from your wounds would not run down into your lungs and suffocate you. For all that day and through the long hours of the night, I sat beside you and held your one good hand. I sang to you, the songs you loved. I whispered words of support. I know you heard me because I felt the gentle pressure of your fingers whenever I stopped singing, silently asking me to continue. It was so cold. I rubbed your feet and hands to keep away frostbite.

Last night I stood beside you in your hell, screaming at the top of my lungs when the patrol mistook you for dead and tossed you onto the meat wagon. No sound was heard. I helped you roll onto your stomach again, held your nose against the stench of blood and bodies. I prayed with you.

Last night I stood beside you in your hell, endless weeks on a freighter crossing the Atlantic with only the most basic of medical care, your critical wounds still unaddressed. I was the Dutch boy who kept your airway clear, who fed you through a straw to keep you alive.

Last night I stood beside you in your hell, and I was your father sitting on your bed in the army hospital and refusing to let the orderlies take you away to a rehabilitation camp where you were expected to learn to live with being a cripple.

Last night I stood beside you in your hell, and I knew there was nothing left for me to fear.

* * *

Rest in peace, Dad. Thank you for everything you taught me. I love you.

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~ by hourbeforedawn on May 28, 2010.

3 Responses to “For My Dad”

  1. Beautiful.

  2. Beautiful and very moving.

  3. Lira, so moving.
    all my love.

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