For My Father

Rheumatoid_Arthritis 1

Wikipedia:  Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflam-matory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks flexible  (synovial) joints.  The pathology of the disease process often leads to the destruction of articular cartilage and fusion of the joints….  

And so my father passed away –
weak and grey and frail
and oh, so very tired.

What must it have been like,
my father, to spend your life
unseen, unsung, surrounded by
remorseless iron women?

Yes, the funeral people
worked wonders.
He looked healthier –
rosier, you might say –
in death than ever he had
in life, silver hair clean
and carefully brushed
and a better fit to the teeth;
padding, I suppose,
but the effect was good.

The only things undisguised –
undisguisable, really –
were the poor, misshapen hands;
worn old hands, gone
terribly awry at the joints,
symbols of helplessness
and the slow, painful
ebbing of a life to the point
where a day was deemed
a success if you could manage
to hold a cup of coffee.

Dear father, unrequited man,
this I swear:  I would never
have wished upon you
so bitter an end.

~ sh ~

B:  July 24, 1916
D:  August 22, 1993


  1. My father died when I was 9, in the early 60s. I know how painful such a loss can be as you show over twenty years after his death. Your words inspire me in so many ways. As you say, Namaste!


    1. I never did my father justice during his lifetime, and it wasn’t until years after his death that it hit me how truly unloving I had been to him. It broke my heart, and it was much, much too late to try to make it better. Big lessons there for me. Thanks for your kind words, my dear!


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