Poem: My Father’s Death


My Father’s Death

Two years ago you sat next to his bed for the last time.
The sun set as the clock’s hand moved.

Time had ceased,
measured less in minutes than breaths.
His heartbeat growing fainter as you held vigil.

It is an odd thing,
knowing the end is so near, you can feel it’s breath,
feel it’s cold truth.

And it came.
It always does.
That last breath.
The vigil over, a feeling of lostness,
for in the week before, you had not held vigil,
you had become vigil.
The world passed without you,
and suddenly, in the silence,
you joined it again.

About this poem

This morning my facebook feed had a reminder from the time I was holding vigil with my sisters at my father’s deathbed. It brought back all sorts of memories, and so I had to write of it to help me sort them out.

The picture was taken the day of his death, as the sun came over the hospital roof his last day. I took the picture with my phone, and I’ve kept it ever since.

I don’t actively mourn any longer. It has been two years, after all. But I still actively miss both he, and even more, my mother, who died just a year earlier. You move past death. But you never move past the life before. Not completely.



  1. October’s leaves are flaming red
    This is not the time she said
    To ask about election news
    Who will win; who will lose?
    What kind of winter will it be
    windy, cold , perhaps snow free?
    All these things we’ll manage through
    I know it well as so do you
    Such little things she told herself
    And placed his ashes on the shelf.

    Thank you Tom. This is the first time I could write about losing my husband without tears. It has only been 5 weeks and I know my poetry is so different than yours; so amateurish, but I had to let it out of me…and for that I thank you. Sandy

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