A kind, gentle friend of mine lost his father just weeks before Father’s Day. I have troubled over his loss since learning about it and the terrible timing. I remember my first Father’s Day without my Papa and I wear a heavy weight in my chest each time the day comes around. My heart ached for my friend as he struggled, like I had just a few years before, with the revelry and good wishes offered by strangers in the store checkout line and news anchors on TV encouraging us all to enjoy a day grilling out in the back yard or offering suggestions about where to buy hand tools.
In 1974 my father, English Professor, author, songwriter, poet, and much more, wrote one of the most moving poems I have ever read on the somber and joyous occasion of the spreading of the ashes of Michelle Murray, a renowned poet and dear life-long friend he had lost much too early. I knew, but could barely speak, the words on the occasion when our family stood ankle deep in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to insure that Bud would forever be a part of a place he loved so dearly.
Fathers are never really gone from us. I reprint Bud’s poem after Father’s Day both to honor and remember my father, but also to share his gift of words with those whose fathers are here now only in our hearts. Like Bud, these words are now forever ‘in the wind.’
And now you will be everywhere,
forever; free from place and time,
fly on the winds. Ash to tiny ash
to speck to fleck to molecule; in time
a molecule of you in every breath I breath:
from now until I die, ten thousand times a day
and in each word I speak, from now till death,
a flick a fleck a speck a particle from you
which now we scatter. Fly. Go free.
your bondage now is over. We loved you.
We will love you. Good bye today; hello with every breath
from now forever.
Bud Foote ©