Many of you have lost close friends, family and loved ones. Me too, but I think I just forgot how to lose someone I cared for and cared about. Last February, my buddy Joe was diagnosed with lung cancer. He hadn’t smoked in 50 years, but it didn’t matter. He was riddled with it.
I sat down to write about my last couple of months with Joe; times that my wife Connie and I shared with him, meals, tears and mostly smiles along with hospice and the end. As I started writing, a story didn’t come to life, but this funky little poem about Joe did spill onto the screen.
I hope you get it, it wasn’t conspired or meant to even be, none-the-less, here it is. Thank you for indulging me.
Small Things for Joe
Years turned to days,
Hours, then to haze.
An ugly disease with no cure had come,
The way it would end, there was just one.
Five of six pall bearers graduated with you… in ’60.
Family, Air Force and career rounded out your history.
Flowers from friends and gatherers, more than a few.
Though none being more an American than you.
Hushed conversations, embers of memories fanned.
Half-true tales to your wife, who simply can’t understand.
Stories of a Carolina up-bringing that made many smile.
Tears of sorrow, as you walked your last mile.
Mac & Cheese from a crock, not from a box.
Some friends we knew, others we did not.
And then, Cherry Romas from the garden,
On what will prove to be a day of Holy pardon.
What to do next, who goes where?
What happens to 50 plus years-worth of wares,
The family, how will they all fare?
August 15, 2017