A Poem for My Father

Margi DehlinGrief11 Comments


I must say that sharing my poetry makes me feel a bit vulnerable. I am not really a poet. Amidst the loss of my father though, I found that I just had to write some of my feelings down. So, I have decided to share a snapshot of what grief looked like for me six months after my dad passed. How I felt on his birthday. Grief is a part of loving well. But I am still relatively new to this kind of loss. I am learning.



June 9, 2017


I simply left,

out the back door

and into the growing night.

There was no plan,

no notice–

only the fading glow

of the last remnants of day,

written in the clouds overhead.


I had been aware of it.

Yes, I knew the moment

my eyelids reached up to greet the new day

that it was your birthday.


It has been over six months

since I last held your hand

or looked into your eyes.

I still try to feel how you would hug me–

the slow embrace

that would softly and securely

gather together all my broken pieces.

Your hugs seemed to hold each fragment in place,

a great deal like a thousand piece puzzle strewn about

only suddenly to be made whole and connected again–

the direct result of careful attention

and the love and patience of a knowing hand.


I breathe deeply.

I feel the wind moving my hair

and tracing my face.

It feels like a loving, intimate act.

Are you here, dad?

Where did you go?

I move my legs rhythmically,

noticing the growing shadows

of tree and flower.

I savor the sounds of the young and the playful,

calling out amidst a game of Marco Polo in a backyard pool.

Just like us

all those years ago.


The sky is large and hopeful.

And I see you here

amidst this beauty.

I observe it totally

just as you would.

I want to be filled by it.

I yearn for it to be enough

to cover all the parts

of me

that still feel lost without you.


I walk on anyway

touched by beauty.

I remember–

and I allow myself to really cry

and miss you.


Yes, it is your birthday.

But there is no cake,

no celebration,

no gifts to speak of.

Because you are not here



I simply can’t fathom it–

your birth,

your entrance into this world.


I can hardly contemplate your beginnings

as I am still so entirely


baffled– at how




could have ever ended.


I have found writing amidst my times of grief or sadness to be tremendously therapeutic. There is plenty of science that backs this up. You can journal in a stream of consciousness way or buy a grief journal. Did you know they have those? You can write a poem or a letter to release anger or especially painful feelings. The style you choose doesn’t matter. I think it is the act of providing a space to process emotions that feels so healing. Check out this article if you are interested.

What are some things that have helped you heal amidst times of grief or loss?

11 Comments on “A Poem for My Father”

  1. Margi! That’s so beautiful! Thank you for sharing. When you speak of your father it’s a testament to the father he was. You can see love for him shine in you.

  2. Soul touching Margi, thank you for sharing. Grief is something that lives in us and yet our lives go on and grow around our grief. I still feel those marked days can be difficult, even three years after my dad has passed away.

    1. I really love how you say “our lives go on and grow around our grief.” I relate to that. And how the marked days (birthdays, the day they passed, holidays, etc…) can come to find us in our grief–as well as the ordinary ones. So true!

  3. I feel blessed to have been hugged by this man. Thank you for the reminder of his goodness. I’ll never forget watching your Dad help your sister with her calculus homework. They were sitting at the kitchen table while your mom was cooking dinner. They were happy and absorbed…in their own little world. Such an exemplary husband and father!

    1. Julianne–I appreciate you sharing a bit of my dad. A snapshot of sorts. It is interesting how the small glimpses really can speak to the soul of a person. He was a very present being. Thank you for reminding me of this! So wonderful to see you, by the way. I am so grateful we had some time with you!

  4. This is utterly beautiful, Margi. Like you I struggle with the loss of loved ones….a thick skin I do not have. How do we bear the pain? So hard….

    Disclosure. My 87 year old Father popped in on Sunday with a takeaway coffee for me. As it happened, I was having a ‘low’ weekend…..I burst into tears and said to my Dad “I don’t want you to die and leave me all alone in the world!!” It was raw, real and honest. Poor dad….he hates it when I cry…he said “but dear I am going to die….and so will your dog”. It’s true.

    But it doesn’t make it easy does it??

    I can only conclude that grief is a sign that we have loved. There is some comfort in that.

    You have written a beautiful poem for your darling Dad, Margi ❤

    1. Fiona–Thank you for sharing a little glimpse of your dad. I love that he would bring you a Sunday coffee! I do think you are right in that grief is a sign of where love is/has been. All we can do is love deeply with the time we have. I appreciate your insights. Always.

  5. Remembering Bill, hearing his voice, and feeling so strongly the love between you two as I read this touching poem, it strikes me how he surely hasn’t ended–he’s right here, flowing out from your heart into these beautiful words. His love is still touching and inspiring us all. <3

    1. Yes–I love that idea and can recognize my dad often in my world and at times, in myself. I see him in my siblings too. And feel him in my mother’s memories as well as my own. And still, there are times in loss–when I miss the tangible him. Plain and simple. It rises up like the tide and passes. Thank you for the love.

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