Frequent trips to the hospital,
Seeing my father helpless, weak, pain all over,
I remember oxygen tanks, medicines of all sorts,
My father doing all he could to be there for us,
My father reminding me time and time again,
“Always take care of your mom.”
I remember the realities of cancer,
The constant fear that each breath could be his last.
I remember my mother trying to maintain hope,
But she couldn’t help but cry as she told me,
“He does not have more than three days to live …”
A phone call at 11 a.m.
Saturday, November 24.
We rushed to the hospital, no one saying a word.
My father lay in bed: motionless, peaceful, free …
I remember the cool November air blowing against my skin.
I was changed in a matter of seconds,
I was no longer fourteen.
I remember my father …
THREE YEARS AGO
Three years ago, I sat by his side
Waiting for the morphine to wear off so I could talk to him.
Three years ago I saw him lying in his bed
Day in and day out.
Three years ago he used to joke
And I pretended he was not funny.
Three years ago I complained about getting him a glass of water,
Now I’d do it a thousand times, just to see him again.
Three years ago we used to play table tennis.
“Slice at a bigger angle,” he used to tell me.
Three years ago I found out
That someday soon, he’d have no tomorrow.
Three years ago I ignored his voice
Now I’d give anything to hear it.
Three years ago my mom became lonely
And wept often for him.
Three years ago we were together.
Oh, what I’d give for three years ago.
These poems first appeared in The Cardinal Quill, an annual publication of Mt. Pleasant High School, San Jose.