Daddy, when first you sent the call
that dusk had quickened its pace,
with a nurse and a bed to catch your fall
and the shadow of night had crossed your face,
still we could not accept that time on its walk
had bent our tall, handsome father,
had circled like a wide-winged hawk
signaling the moment we must gather.
The words fell like petals from a cherry tree:
“Hospice,” “Catheter,” “Morphine,” “Pain.”
We knew for certain we needed to be
there, nestled between your bed and your cane.
And your bravery and dignity rose like a moan
out of dementia’s clearing mist
as we sat by your side in the oxygen’s drone
and held your hand, and stroked your wrist.
How we wished we’d noticed your eyes before
the way they twinkled when they lit on ours,
your Irish grin and little wink, we wanted more
but at last you had run out of the hours.
Daddy, you waited and wrestled with sleep,
your head rising, then dropping, eyes closed,
struggling to keep from falling too deep
and the days fled as you dozed.
You told us you loved us and called out our name
before slipping off the darkest edge of night
and now nothing will ever be the same
after living through your courageous fight.
Daddy we miss you, we love you, so Daddy don’t go,
you squeezed our hands, you made sure that we knew
the loving, laughing spirit of a man named Joe.
Daddy, please know we will always love you.