A Poem for My Father


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?