it’s 4:59 am, and you disintegrated slowly [A Poem]

Daddy, I miss you. I really do!  I try not to,
because I think I am still mad at you.
I’ve got a nice fat file at the UW Department of Psychiatry to prove it.

I glanced at the back of the room and saw you
sitting there.  With your grin,
how I lived to see that grin of pleasure.
It made the whole world feel r i g h t.
A belly laugh, so unexpected.
As if you were filled
with nothing but pleasure,
oh how I loved your laugh.
There is still so much goodness in you Dad
To be remembered — Passion.  Faith.  Hope.
I glanced over and saw you sitting there.

I want to remember you Dad, before I forget.
When the alarm tweeted at 4:59am,
and you disintegrated slowly,
as I woke and was left
full of longing; I am overwhelmed
by how much I miss you.

In life, I mostly felt your disappointment and my lack.
Perhaps it was your distractions, so important, God’s work
… coupled with a fear that you had.
You didn’t measure up


Oh, in a crisis, if life was falling apart,
of course you were there
and would have honestly and truly,
if you could have, moved mountains to help.  But if not,
if life were NOT falling apart, you were busy doing the “Lord’s Work.”
This should have been okay, could have even been healthy,
if — the damage wasn’t already done.

I want to be lifted from the mire of that gloomy, infested death hole.
I want to be living not impulsively and with my FEAR overcoming EACH AND EVERY WORD.
Not assuming others only tolerate me.
Not speaking with a mute’s stutter.
Not breathing in constant fear.
Not stifling a scream.
I want to live healed, anointed.
I want to believe that you loved me
and are still hoping for me to have
the fullest,
the most joyful and gut-busting,

irrationally ecstatic, good LIFE.

You are no longer here.  And yet you linger in my dreams.
What are you dreaming
for me?

MH 12-9-2010

My father, Dan Harrison, died of brain cancer about eight years ago.  He joined my dream last night in a strange way.  Just sitting there, in the back of a room full of people.  As he often did.  He glanced up and I found myself saying to my sisters “Dad’s not gone.  He’s right over there.” Sometimes I do wonder if people linger in between this world and the next — hoping, wishing, praying even nudging.  I have no theology for this but I do wonder.

My father had a profound effect on me.  There are times when I believe that I did not truly begin living until he died.  At the least I experienced a new life after he died.  There are pages of this story here on my blog.  Many many poems and other thoughts, insights, lessons found here.  It is not completely a story of a broken person, because I found in a true way Christ’s love and that overcame all my sorrows.  I work for and pray for Shalom.

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