He Used To

My heart is heavy tonight.  Within the last month, two of my former students have lost their fathers.  There is no grief so searing as a little girl losing her father too soon.  The latest loss leaves me hollowed out.  This father was a great man, the kind of man who all the children gravitated to because of his gentle way.

I am locked in grief.  For his wife.  For his son.  For his darling daughter.  For everyone who knew him.  It is a piercing loss and all I can do is blink back tears and write.

He Used To
He used to walk her to class each morning,
Hug her tight,
Kiss her freckled nose with kindness.

He used to smile at her,
The corners of his eyes crinkled with happiness,
Her eyes mirrors of his youth.

He used to adjust her helmet strap,
Remind her to hold on tight,
All at once holding onto his little girl,
All at once letting her go.

He used to be able to kick free from the deep,
To push toward light,
Toward air,
Toward truth,
Toward life.

He used to look into her adoring eyes,
Know her love was real,
Know he was worthy of being loved.

Then he stopped knowing
Her freckles,
How to hold on tight,
How to kick to the surface,
How to quell the lies with truth,
That he was worthy,
That he was loved,
That love was real.

I used to know that man.
Now there is only his freckled girl and the
Beautifully raw memories of
Who he used to be.

image courtesy of weheartit.com

 

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