The last 3 and a half years of my father's life were a living hell for him. He had always been an active independent man. He worked up until his 80's and when he felt it was time to stop working he just stopped.
His independence came to an end one cold winter night when he had a major stroke. From then on his best days were spent in a wheel chair. His worst days were spent in hospital beds with tubes sticking into him and hooked to machines.
My brother and I shared the duties of caring for dad at home as much as we could. Home health aids picked up the slack as did mom. The indignity of a nursing home would not be dad's lot.
Toward the end of his life mom died and then he began to have a series of 'mini' strokes. Finally his time was up. I said good-bye to him one night before leaving to go to work knowing I would never see him again.
I wrote the poem below titled "Shutting Off The Lights" several years ago and finished it up today and put it into a video. The video was an idea I had long held as a way to illustrate the poem. I think it works.
Shutting Off The Lights
I think of my father almost every day.
Yesterday a light was on
and I got up to turn it off
remembering how he would go
from room to room turning off the lights.
As he lay dying
I whispered in his ear:
“It’s alright to go dad”,
knowing I would never see him again.
With wide open eyes he gazed at me and sighed
and as I watched
he began to go from room to roomshutting off the lights one last time.
Poetry, photography and video
by David H. Roche