Passing (Redux)

My father died of Pancreatic cancer on December 14, 2011. I first published this haibun in Image Curve, on December 18, 2014.

Contemporary Haibun Today, Time

The mid-afternoon sun rests along the top of the Ramapo Mountains. The patio shines in a brilliance unobstructed by leafless maple trees. Mira and I sit at the table, taking a rest from the vigil we’ve kept over my father for the past two days. We need fresh air untainted by the stench of human feces and Febreeze. I need a moment away from his incessant, morphine-driven snoring.

But a shout from my mother brings us running back. She stands by Dad’s right side, her back to the fireplace. Dark lines under her eyes from lack of sleep look more prominent in the afternoon light. I take my place by his left. A misunderstanding later, my eight-year-old son stands next to me.

My father takes his last breath: air gurgles out of him as though from a deflating balloon.

I feel nothing. He is so still now. So unlike his graceful floating across the white Italian tile of his restaurant, greeting every one of his customers like they were guests in his own home. So unlike his laying and hammering down the planks of the backyard deck he designed and built. So unlike him.

“Is he gone?”

My numbness shatters. In a whisper, through sudden, silent sobs, I answer my son.


December sunset

an empty hospice bed

an empty room


Photograph by Ryan McGuire


for dVerse Poets Pub’s OLN #234 (Pubtended by Grace)



28 replies »

  1. I am sorry for your loss. That stillness and last breath can be a shattering experience. I was not around when my father died so this strikes me very personally.

    Thank you for a wonderful share and your active partication in dVerse. Wishing you and yours a meaningful holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We just experienced something similar – my Father-in-law passed away. I had never been to a funeral with an open casket. I was amazed at how youthful and rested he looked – he had looked so worn during hospice care (he was so vibrant in life as well). Very moving poem. Love the detail of him greeting customers…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. This is poignant and powerful. My sisters and I were at my father’s deathbed. His last breath was terrifying. But I relate to your thoughts of how your father had changed from being so vital.

    Liked by 1 person

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