Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Father's Hug

You know, there's something so sweet, so innocent, about a simple hug, but when you receive one so tenderly from your 77-year-old frail father, it's so much more. My dad, along with my mom, raised my siblings and me (there are three of us) to be self-sufficient, true to our word and resilient. Yet, when I hug my dad these days, who will celebrate his 77th birthday tomorrow, I see a man who, unfortunately is becoming increasingly debilitated, physically weaker, and often mentally confused. Now only able to ambulate with the help of a walker, his thin appearance, increased sleep periods, and decreased appetite (resulting in a bony frame which is barely able to support him) remind me of the passage of time and of days gone by. Days when I was a child and he'd effortlessly lift me up into the air, and I 'd squeal with delight. Or those warm Saturdays when he would finally come back inside the house, beaming and sun tanned, after mowing the lawn all afternoon, his smiling eyes greeting me, and I didn't even care that his hands were dirty and grass-stained. Or the times when I'd had an argument with a friend and he'd be there - at just the right time - to listen to me through my tears.

I wrote a poem for him, today, the day before his birthday. I probably won't share it with him, though. I'm not sure why I won't. Maybe it would make him sad. Or, more likely, maybe he wouldn't really understand it - due to his diminished cognitive ability - and that would make me sad. But I thought that I needed to write it and share it with anyone who can relate to a father's hug. And although my dad may not see his next birthday and my heart will be especially heavy on that day, I know that our heavenly Father will always be there to give us the strength we'll need, at just the right time.

Daddy, Do You Know?

He used to sling me up onto his back,
"Giddyap!" I'd squeal with delight,
"Daddy, do you know," as we rounded the bend,
"That you are my hero - my powerful knight?"

He gave me away, walking down the aisle,
I remember the tear in his eye,
"Daddy, do you know," as we danced alone,
"That I'm not really saying good-bye?"

His first grandson arrived one cold March night,
To my babe, he sang lullabies,
"Daddy, do you know," as we smiled at him,
"That he has your handsome, dark-colored eyes?"

Years later, his voice from his hospital bed,
Resembled an old man's, to me,
"Daddy, do you know," as I hung up the phone,
"How I long to see you in heaven, so free?"

For our worldly bodies are fleeting and marred,
They're nothing but vessels, you see,
"Daddy, do You know," as I prayed to our God,
"How grateful I am for his memory?"

I love you, Dad.


Debby said...

Well that one made me cry. But today is the day for it. Karen, I have been told that I don't have cancer. Something is going on in my shoulder. They do not know what it is, but it will followed up on in Pittsburgh every two months. But as of this moment, as of right here and now, they cannot find cancer. I am so grateful to God, so speechlessly grateful.

Karen L. Holmes said...

No Cancer! Prasie be to God. I am just smiling right now! He will direct your paths, Debby. Sleeping will be a bit better for you these days, no doubt, as long as the shoulder pain is bearable.