Wednesday, 28 July 2010

My father is slowly dying.

My father is slowly dying

he is shrinking away before my very eyes

every day he disappears a little further

takes up less space in the bed

his movement is now minimal

every breath ragged and painful

blind from diabetes

he lives in a world of darkness

but now he sees things

imagines things

remembers things

decade old memories jumbled

with things that happened yesterday

dead friends remembered

he struggles to finish his sentences

but the humour is still there

the sarcasm remains

amidst his shallow breathing and bed sores

even now he still makes us laugh. Out loud.

My father is slowly dying

he has been my hero all my life

I've spent a lifetime trying to please him

to win his love and affection

now he says he's always loved us

he asks us to stick together

he makes us promise to

look after the grandchildren

and his wife, our mother

he wants me to cut down on my exercising

his memory is obviously gone

I haven't exercised for 20 years

but I tell him no problem

I will start straight away.

My father is slowly dying

we gather round for his final words

he rambles here there and everywhere

words of wisdom mixed with nonsense

prayer mixed with odd unintelligible questions

I feel I'm looking in a mirror

sometime far into the future

we've always been too alike physically

so this is the fate that will befall me

sometime in the years ahead

I better get some joy from living

Squeeze some juices out of life

I try not to think of the near future

when his ragged breaths will cease

my sister has already cried river naija

being the eldest and a man

I have only cried a lake.

My father is slowly dying

his skin is stretched tightly across his bones

so tight it is almost translucent

shiny like it's been polished

I tell him that we love him

I tell him we will miss him

We wont know what to do without him

He has always been there for us

He smiles his secret smile

He has said his goodbyes

He'll be leaving soon

I wish him safe travels

He once told me that death was not an ending

but the beginning of another phase

for as we wave the dead adieu from this earth

so others stand at another shore

welcoming them home.

As you go into the dark night Father

please always remember

we love you now and always

and forever more.

And for those on the other shore

waiting patiently to welcome him

we hand him over grudgingly

please take care of him, this gentleman,

for he was truly gentle, and a man.

(p.s- he can be a bit cranky sometimes

but he means no harm.)