A valediction is a poem of farewell. Unfortunately, this one was not difficult to write. It’s based upon a personal reflection I wrote while waiting to go to my brother’s wake.
A Good Day
I stayed up late to watch old home movies.
We all looked so young, so vibrant, and so much alike.
The genes run strong in our family.
Phil looked particularly fit and trim.
It was a good day to watch home movies.
Eddie called. He asked how I was doing and the floodgates opened.
I’ve lost others and I loved them dearly, but this was different.
I was part of something bigger than myself. Now part of me is missing.
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry,” he said, “and to make sure you were all right.”
It was a good day to get a call from Eddie.
The chemo and radiation had run their course.
It was only a matter of time.
A group of us converged on his house.
We sent Rose off for a much-needed break, played cards, and snacked incessantly.
We ordered out for Pizza, ribbed each other mercilessly, and laughed all day long.
It was a good day to visit.
The doctors prepared Rose for the worst. The cancer was in his brain.
Face muscles would sag; the tongue would droop; he could drool uncontrollably.
Legs and arms might falter; he could become incontinent.
Phil decided to organize his garage; she found him lying in the driveway.
Death came quickly while he was home and on his feet.
It was a good day to die.
My son called.
He and his wife wanted to know where and when the wake would be.
They planned to attend.
It’s always good to have children.
But it was an especially good day to be a father.
I looked through the closet for an outfit to wear.
One shirt was missing a button.
Replacing the button would allow that shirt to continue to serve out its purpose.
I pulled out a sewing kit and mended it.
It was a good day to sew on a button.
It’s time to go.
It’s raining and gray outside.
It’s a good day to say goodbye.
Dedicated to my brother Phil
April 6, 2013