Died Too Soon,Too Late?

One of my nephews (age 58) suffered a massive stroke on January 16 that left him with greatly diminished ability to communicate. He could not walk or use his right arm much. He went from hospital to rehab to a care facility where he lived (?) until he died on May 16. On June 16, I attended his memorial service and read this poem I had written for him. I loved him dearly. 

For Ken

I remember you as cherished child—
the faded photo featuring 
      three little cousins sitting on a step
      you were the two-year-old
      sweet little blond boy
      with big brown eyes

I remember you as terrible teen—
      every issue requiring debate
      every topic subject to argument
      nothing beyond questioning

I remember you as maverick man—
      your kind and generous heart
      your tender thoughtfulness
      your gentle spirit

sometimes buried beneath 
blankets of indignation
      eyes shooting fire of outrage
      voice shaking with fury
            at the injustices of the world
            at the unfairness of life

Your illness and death a lesson in unfair—
       untimely, unexpected, unwanted—
       You were not through with living
       We were not prepared to lose you

But you slipped away that spring afternoon
      free from the fetters of frustration
      liberated from the long loneliness
      ready to roam without restraint

And when you are ready to rest—
Rest in peace, beloved grandpa, father, son
Rest in peace, beloved brother, friend
Rest in peace, dear one, rest in peace

©2012 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad

 

Comments

Jan Baird Hasak 13-07-2012, 18:12

Oh, Lois. This poem makes me cry. I think about my father when I read these words, even though he lived a longer life. Your poetic expressions always touch me in ways that prose can’t. Keep on sharing these with us. They mean more than you’ll ever know. xx

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