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Thirty Years Gone.


My father died thirty years ago today.  I don’t remember him.  I was only two the summer he died.

My father was born with a disfiguring birthmark that covered his entire torso. The doctors told my grandparents that it should be removed for cosmetic reasons. So he endured twenty-two skin grafts in total, until his skin resembled a patchwork quilt.  He was in and out of the hospital so often and missed so much school that he got fed up and quit in his junior year of high school.  Even after all that, the doctors missed a spot. His tumor grew from a tiny mole, a pencil thin stretch of skin about an inch long.

Last year my mother gave me a file folder of papers that belonged to him.  It is actually a horribly sad thing to go through, because it is a record of his death- the file is filled with logs of his medications and sips of drinks (apparently he liked Pepsi) his last words and a few little doodles.  Those are precious to me.  My dad was an artist.  But there isn’t one piece of work left and that makes me ache with sadness.

I would love to see something he painted. 

I found the pamphlet from his funeral and there was a poem he wrote when he was seventeen printed inside.  I thought I’d share it with you.


I’m sitting on a rock on the side of a willowy path,

With a feeling of royalty in my blue.

I can feel the breath of life from the deep green forest.

I can hear the nervous cries of birds and forest animals

The cigarette I light is of the finest herbs.

I can smell and taste the blossom of Autumn.

Sitting here I can understand why things are this way.

My life has been something special.

I won’t give it up until I conquer this some-times

                                              Lonesome feeling in me.

They’re walking down the street now.

Why are they walking away?

I miss them so much already.

I feel like they are leaving me forever.

One last goodbye.  I stand up and yell.

They turn and wave.

I wave too, and return to my rock. 

They left this with me.  It’s a way of understanding.

Understanding a little more.

I can’t wait to see them again.

I can’t wait to be home laughing with them. 

Her eyes are serious sometimes- other times happy.

Happy from the high she gets out of life.

I know she is going to be there, here,

Where she belongs.

You would have to be me to understand. 



5 Responses to Thirty Years Gone.

  1. That’s a beautiful poem. It’s wonderful that your mom saved it and the hospital records for you all this time.

  2. I know what you mean when you wanted a chance to see something he once owned and made. I also had a sense of relief when I saw the Purple Heart that my grandfather won during WWII; he died years before I was born and the medal was one of his few surviving mementos.

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