The Hard Part

The Hard Part
It’s not my father’s shouting,
though that’s enough to drive us from him –
the jackhammer cries with which he wards off phantoms, 
searching for us in our real bodies, inches away.
Not his index finger pressed moronically to sagging lips
as he eavesdrops on conversations he can’t understand.
Not his 99-pound figure, sores on every joint,
the heavy head pitched forward.
Not even his incontinence. Not that,
and not the plain humiliations of each hour,
the sixteen waking hours of each day,
the thirty days of this month’s garish blossoming.
It’s that after the shouting and struggling,
after the cleaning and changing,
once he’s settled in his chair
quiet and almost straight, smelling of lotion –
he starts up again. So I take his hands in mine,
insist I’m here, I’m here with you
until he looks at me, then down at our locked fingers
(a hard knot, a mooring),
and his sharp shoulders drop – eyes closed, head shaking no
because he still has a heart, and it won’t stop breaking.
Jody Bolz
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23 Responses to The Hard Part

  1. Gelert says:

    God. My dad died suddenly, between saying see you in a minute….. and that minute not coming. Sometimes I think yes, that was terrible, but then I realise that some things might have been worse.

  2. Cheryl says:

    OMG…that is really sad. I hope my kids never have to go through this with me. I hope I just die like my grandmother. Go to bed and never wake up..No medicine, no hospitals, no doctors…

  3. Nellie O Apple says:

    I used to be a hospice nurse and now I am on disability. Sometimes I reflected back on my memories about the pain and suffering of my patients and their families. Now, I can only imagine how I tackled such resposibilities facing old and dying folks on my hands?

  4. Gayle says:

    My father fought off the ravages of his last bout with cancer for 4.5 years before he let go. I remember the last time I saw him. He begged me to get him out of the hospital and home. I had a long conversation with the doctor who wanted to administer some next treatment. I didn\’t know I would have the ocurage to say \’No\’; to say \’let him go the way he wants to – at home with people who love him\’. Later that day I went to his bedside and told him my brother was coming the following day and that he would be released when my brother got there. I had to head back to my daughter and to my home. I kissed my daddy\’s hand and told him to let go, that I was fine (he always worried about my being single), that I would see him again in where ever it is we go when we are done with here. I told my daddy I loved him and he squeezed my hand and closed his eyes (not to sleep, but so that I wouldn\’t see the tears brimming in his eyes). He died less than 24 hours later. I Loved that man.Thanks for the beautiful piece you posted, Jorge.G.

  5. Jaime Campbell says:

    Oh, Jorge. I have tears in my eyes. That was so sad. So, so, so sad. Please tell this woman, Jody, how very sorry I am for her pain, for her father\’s pain. She is an amazing writer.I wanted to thank you, friend, for your comments of support on my latest entry. I value your feedback and opinion very highly and what you said made me feel terrific. Really, really terrific.Thank you.Jaime.

  6. Deirdre says:

    Excellent piece. Thanks for posting it. It\’s something that\’s all too familiar for many people.I also wanted to thank you for posting the piece about grant writing. I just skimmed it, and have to come back to read it in more detail. I\’m a bit crunched for time at the moment.Hope you\’re doing well :-)D

  7. Lars says:

    I lost my Dad a few weeks ago and the grief is as raw today as it was then. He was gone suddenly, a massive heart attack they said. Teaching art one day and gone the next.I have been lost in my thoughts of the fact that there was no warning, no time to prepare for the end. Never a sick day in his life and now all I have to think about is Why? I cannot find an answer. After reading your entry here, I am now thinking how this must have been my Dad\’s wish. Maybe it is everyone\’s wish…no suffering…to die quick…not to be a burden.How selfish I have been….he was spared the pain and humiliation of watching his loved ones suffer his end.I have made peace with this. Death is personal.

  8. Jaime Campbell says:

    I just read the comment by The Painter\’s Daughter and I am struck at the power of these Spaces. What a difference your entry has made in her life, Jorge. Wow. That is so amazingly cool. I was just coming by to say hello and received a treasure instead.Have a great night.Jaime.

  9. Debbie says:

    That last line says it all.

  10. Patricia says:

    Overwhelmed, Jorge…I know my dad won\’t want things to be that way…For his sake I pray it isn\’t…

  11. Kathryn says:

    Oh! Jorge — Oh……….*sob* 😦 …(and somehow, despite myself, even though I shouldn\’t – I read somethign beautiful, beautifully tragically sad, but beautiful all the same, in those words)

  12. Pamela says:

    I have to say, you are a writer from way back…the title of your space is intriguing…and I know it must be difficult…Be well.Peace.

  13. Michelle says:

    That is very touching.Sad and beautiful and so very touching.I see my Grandma struggling with dementia. It must be so difficult to not remember and to find yourself asking the same questionsrepeatedly but not being able to change it. Sometimes she says, Oh, Did that happen days ago? It seemed like just a minute ago. When she says that you see such a look of sadnessand despair in her face.Abrazo,Michelle

  14. Patricia says:

    Hi, Jorge…no, not my painting…would love to be able to do that, though…have taken classes…need more lessons…

  15. A Utah Woman Am I says:

    Wow Jorge.What a powerful poem. I lost both of my grandparents just last year and it is indeed hard! I am constantly telling my parents that they have to wait at least 20 years before they think about doing that to me. I know I can\’t stop it, but I like to pretent sometimes.Life is a precious thing and we should cherish it while we can. I think back and regret not visiting my grandparents more. We always did share a special bond and am sad that it had to depart from my life at such a young age. Most people have grandparents until they are at least 40. I suppose life is simply different for any given individual. You can not change it. Although you might want to. And you can\’t avoid it. There is no possible way to do so.The thing I am trying to currently do is simply: Carpe Diem. "Seize the day. And all it has to offer".Thanks for your wonderful words of insight J.-Kelsey

  16. Nancy says:

    wow.that is something! thanks for the enlightening post..

  17. Jaime Campbell says:

    Coming to see you. Your comments always make me smile. You are a good friend.Hugs,Jaime.

  18. Jaime Campbell says:

    Okay, you get a huge hug for THAT comment! Thank you, Jorge!I was nominated once before for "Most Inspirational," but I didn\’t tell anyone. I felt like a dweeb for saying "Vote for me! I\’m Most Inspirational!" I mean, seriously. How cheesy. So, "I bare all!" sounds a lot better….a lot naked-er (haha – I made up a word), but a lot better.Thanks so much, Jorge.Jaime.

  19. Unknown says:

    Hey hows it goin thanks for stopping by and reading my blog Miracles happen everyday but people are too blind to see them. Peace and blessings Hope you have a blessed New Year!Meg

  20. Marge says:

    Good morning, Jorge…I wanted to comment on this entry for awhile, but words eluded me.My dad died over twenty years ago by suicide; I didn\’t get to say goodbye to him.I still miss him.When he died he was still a very vital human being. Although he didn\’t suffer the decline of advanced aging, I still feel a selfish grief that he isn\’t still here…It\’s early morning and I\’m feeling a little blue at the moment…Pece and Love.Marge

  21. Star says:

    I was fortunate that both of my parents went quickly, just as they wanted. Fortunate is an odd word for that, but I\’m sure you do know what I mean. The saddest part of their passing is that I was 14 when my father (who was only 60) died and only 35 when my mother (who was 75)died. I am now 54. I was pleased for them that they didn\’t have to suffer and linger which was their greatest fears but am still so sorry for myself that they were not around to see and get to know my children. And to get to know me. We all have lessons to learn and apparently some of my lessons were to come from losing my parents while I was young.Thanks for listening.Starstuff

  22. SANDRA says:

    Oh this is incredibly sad..but very very true…I am a nurse and have cared for many who were debilitated and unable to care for themselves any longer..and now I am older and I can see my body physically incapable of doing many things that I once did without a it is more body rebels with pain and fatigue. I watch it daily in my sixteen year old Ancient Man..Maxie dog…bless him. Thank you for posting this…I hope I will someday pass away as my husband did…quietly in his sleep…gently into the night…..eternally…Sanddee

  23. Born says:

    I have a lump in my throat. I nursed both my mom and my grandmom and they both died in my arms. I think I am blessed , honestly i do. It makes my grief a lttle more bearable knowing that in the end i could do my bit too.

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