On the Way to Heaven, 2nd Lineage Poem: Over Ohio My father died of lung cancer in Florida in 1986. Always an angry man, he was supremely bitter about his illness, feeling like he’d been robbed of the retirement due a lifetime of work. At the time, I was buried in my own workaholic haze in Chicago, flying down on weekends to see him, then going straight back to the office when I got back North.
He was in hospice when I got word that the end was near, and was in a coma by the time I arrived. This poem tells the story of a real conversation, one I’ll obviously never forget. He was a hard man who was hard on his boys. As I enter my own older years, I resent the hardness less and less, and miss him more and more. I’d love to be able to talk with him one more time.
Here’s the link to the first Lineage Poem : A Joyful Noise – Root Music of the Heartland—https://oldbonesnewsnow.com/2022/01/09/a-joyful-noise-root-music-of-the-heartland/
my mother called on Friday to let me know his time was near that I needed to come now. he was not an easy man either to me or to my brother or to himself. my mother, simple loyal and kind was spared this, or so I hope. he’d been in a coma for days when I went to sit with him through the night, his cancer-eaten body rattling its ragged breaths in the pale blue light of the monitors. unable to sleep, I watched him breath in the darkness, then just before dawn he woke and wanted to talk. I told him he was dying as if he didn’t already know. and he asked me how much money I made (so he’d know, he said, if I’d be safe) then apologized for smacking us boys, and I told him it was alright even if it really wasn’t. I left when he drifted back into sleep or wherever it was he’d been waiting, and caught the early morning flight for home. he died while I was 30,000 feet over Ohio. sometimes I wonder – at that moment, which one of us was closest to heaven? © 2022 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com
And here’s a link to more poems about fathers from the Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/collections/101752/poems-about-fathers