Today is my grandpa’s birthday. He passed away August 9th, 2017. I wrote this poem a few days ago about him. Enjoy. (The photo I took last Spring. I love tulips.)
I watched you fade away into a man I barely recognized anymore. Like an old fade photograph going yellow from age and neglect.
I tried to see the man you used to be but I couldn’t. It was like I was looking at you through a thick heavy fog.
You kept fading and we kept clinging to you like a child to their mother.
It was hard to see you like that knowing the man you used to be. And I realized that we were clinging to all but a memory. And though I felt guilty, I stopped coming to visit you towards the end. I couldn’t bare seeing you turn into a husk of the man you used to be.
You got worse, of course, and we all knew the end was coming but we didn’t know when. We didn’t want to admit it to ourselves that you were at the end of your rope. That Fate had her scissors on your string as she slowly sawed, the thread getting weaker and weaker.
Just like you.
And as the August leaves faded from bright green to fiery orange to a dull brown, I saw you in them. I realized that you were like them. You were fading, and though we didn’t want to lose you, we knew it was your time to go.
And though I cried – and smoked two cigarettes that I knew you’d be disappointed in – I knew that you were at peace. I knew that you never wanted us to see you like a fade photograph, a dead leaf. I knew that wherever you were, you were looking after us.
And the childish part of me wonders if like the stories say, you were reborn. And in my mind, I see you as a bumblebee, pollinating the flowers you so carefully tended.
I think about you all the time.
I think about you when I see the tall oak trees stretching out towards the sky. I remember how you used to tell me about all the different kinds of trees. I wish I had paid more attention then.
I think about you whenever I paint wine bottles. I wonder if you’d like the galaxy I painted or the one that looks like a tree.
I think of you when I read a new book. I finished Carrie by Stephen King a few weeks ago. I devoured it. I remember ho we used to talk about books. So many books.
I think about you every time I see a cardinal fly into a bush at my school. I remember the canary I drew for you and how happy you were at that simple gift. To you, it wasn’t simple. I haven’t done another one like it since. Though I’m thinking I should. A whole collection of birds.
I think about you when I write. The story based on that house. I remember how you always talked about the werewolf in the shed. I wonder if it’d make you happy that I’m turning that into a novel.
I think about you when I raise up my camera to snap a photo of the bright red and orange tulip at my school. Like you did, I take photos of nature, trying to capture a moment.
Or maybe, I’m trying to capture the memory of you.