“Death Day: One Year Post”
He was here, but somewhere else entirely.
His once bold grey-blue eyes wearily opened,
perplexed and startled at his surroundings, as
if returning from a far away place, soothed by
our faces and voices at recognition. His big
booming speech gave way to painful moans
and indiscernible mumbles that required all of
his energy. I could easily touch my fingers around
his wrist, but I sat silently as I watched his wife
and caretaker rub the lotion on the skin and bones
he had left in hopes to soothe the itching. Was the
cancer or the treatment responsible for that?
He was an an author, a foodie, a union man, who,
on a trip to Washington D.C. gave me his wallet
so I could bail him when we joined a protest outside
of the U.S. treasury. A kind man, one who sought to
help others after his own recovery from alcoholism,
so many we weren’t even aware of until they heard
of his passing. A stubborn man, sometimes to a fault,
but always harder on himself, than on anyone else.
An honorable man who held true to the end that it is
never too late to grow and a prankster who managed to
die without ever growing up.
I sat there that morning watching his chest rise and fall
with struggle, a man transformed before his travel,
selfishly wishing to keep him just a little longer. Frozen.
I told him I was there, that I loved him, but there was
nothing to tell me he heard me. I held his hand as he took in
his last big breath of life and left his body.
A hot air balloon rose over the house with the sun.