The Last Image

The image is starting to fade a bit—

the toothless gape, the three breaths for every one of mine,

the curved spine, frozen by arthritis and osteoporosis,

the starving frame—long, thick bones, draped in sagging flesh.

So unlike the strong shelter I knew.

The image is starting to fade of the sometimes vacant eyes,

the silken white hair, the all but soundless ears, receiving songs

and whispers in long night vigils,

the velvet fingers so unlike the rough, blackened hands I knew.

The feeling is starting to fade of the warm life

stealing from my fingertips, replaced by creeping cold stillness—

so unlike the pulsing strength I knew.

Are you happy now?

Are you strong again?

Are you satisfied that you lived your life well?

Did He say a “well done”?

The silhouette of a sweeping curve, a lifeless spine in your hospital bed

is most of what is left in my mind’s eye.

But the pictures I’ve been thumbing through are replacing the pain of those last moments,

replacing them with what you have left me—strength, loyalty, truth, faithfulness, godliness, fervent affection, endurance . . .

Happy Fathers Day, Daddy.

Sept. 5, 1921 – Jan. 15, 2008

About apronheadlilly

wife and mother, musician, composer / poet, teacher, and observer of the world, flawed Christ-follower
This entry was posted in Family, Photography, Poetry, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Last Image

  1. Cassie says:

    I loved this post. I got teary eyed and everything, so touching. The photos are wonderful as well – thank you so much for sharing this.

  2. m5son says:

    Beautiful Lilly.

  3. Dor says:

    What a strong, handsome, hard working, giving man he was. The pictures don’t lie. Lilly, this is such a lovely tribute to your Dad and so beautifully written. Thanks you for sharing.

    • Thanks. Funny, when you are a kid, you can never imagine a time when your dad will not be there, and all of a sudden you are older than your parents were even at some of your best times in memory. Where does the time go? ~sigh~

  4. Judy says:

    Lilly… touching and dear. Such a nice tribute to your father who gave you such wonderful qualities and characteristics.
    I know what you mean about seeing your father, not as the strong man you always remembered. It came as such a shock to me when my father was hooked to heart monitors, and I was in my early 30’s. It was something I had to learn the hard way. My first big lesson in growing up.
    The last moments will fade, replaced by the wonderful memories you shared. I love the smile he is sharing with your son, perhaps? Hang in there….hugs….

    • Thanks. Yes, that is my #2 son. I love that picture. He was a special person, and I didn’t realize how much so till I was older and away from home, realizing that so many did not share the kind of loving family life we had.

  5. pattisj says:

    Yes, keep looking at those old pictures. Remember those good times. Hugs.

  6. Soapmouth says:

    My dad read a facebook status that I’d written about him on Father’s Day, and he was moved to tears. Alot like this post moved me. beautiful writing

  7. Madhu says:

    Your love shines through Lily. Know how hard it is to lose a parent at any age. Take care.

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