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Friday, March 8, 2013


One day tucked into the edge of a too-short breezy gown at the foot of a lived in bed, I heard my father say my father say my father say
I've lived a good life

I did what I wanted to do

i was here

and he talked about Atlanta and baseball, beaches and family and trips and graces

falls and slips
but in my eyes he wasn't very old wasn't very old wasn't very old

and it was no time to speak of goodbye
so when I heard my father say my father say my father say
he was ready
and staid
and grateful
in that moment of humility on the edge 

of a bed 
of unforgiving weakness
I didn't hear what my father said my father said my father said
because I didn't believe him you see
he was much too kind to death
and I was bitter at the sight of that gown

It wasn't enough
It will never be enough
not then not now

I could see in his heart he longed to jump off the edge 

where his bare feet dangled
over bedsheets and the unknown abyss 
of eternity
all in the same blink of time
I didn't want to hear you say your life was enough when in my eyes it was anything but
Run, Daddy, Run! I knew once his feet hit the floor he would never look back
and he knew once his fast running legs tucked back under the covers he would never get up
I wanted his choice to be the floor 

because I didn't want to hear defeat
and I didn't want to see disappointment
and I couldn't bear the thought of regret
because I know damn well he had some

so he lied

for me   

I wonder today - this night - what enough is
And what makes it enough
and how long must it be
to count

as enough

because I want to believe that love like that covers a multitude of whatifs

and lies like that made him believe it was true
because he knew the terror was gone from his daughter's eyes and she was alright
Oh, Daddy. You could always outrun my fears
I have friends whose mothers are dying and mothers whose children are

and me
just dying to know what it feels like to
slide face first into heaven on a third base line
carrying small dreams full of gratefulness
and big dreams full of empty
Daddy would know

And then there was this: an enormous gigantic bigger than life accomplishment I'd forgotten, perhaps even willed to forget until this very night when I sit here wondering if I've done enough to make my own life count and how must it feel to go to heaven empty.
 Every few months for as long as I can remember he would get up at the crack of dawn before work and make a special trip to a place he knew well and people who knew him.
He did it so many times in his life that by the time he was middle-aged he had earned many pins from the American Red Cross. In the wee hours of daylight he would stretch out his arm and donate as many bags of blood as they would allow, to people he'd never meet or know, and then go to work.
But somehow in the strangest of ways tonight, I know them.

And they are telling me that what mattered in my dad's life was not what I thought should matter to him, not the education he never finished, or the regrets I had for him, or the major league contract he lost, nor the limitations of scarcity and a life lived starkly simple, in front of me and a world that counted such things as wealth as the only worth of a man.....but what matters is that somewhere tonight there is woman who grew up to be a mother and a mother who grew up a child because my dad cared
and that was enough

I Was Here

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Red Shoes said...

The fellow who was my best friend ever died back in 2000. Barry was a doctor of internal medicine.

I looked for ways to honor his memory... and happened upon a Mississippi Blood Services mobile bus during a blood drive.

I've donated as often as I can since that time. The pins are all in a drawer in my dresser.

Your Dad sounds like a most wonderful person. You must feel honored to have such a person as your Father, and more importantly, I bet he felt honored to have you as a daughter...

Warm, gentle *hugs* for you...



Unknown said...


Durward Discussion said...

Wonderful tribute to a beautiful man. While I no longer can, over the years I've done donations both regular and apheresis, and it is something so necessary and so easy that most people can do for others.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wonderful, Mimi. And through your poems and stories about him, most notably during the Blogblast, your dad still touches many hearts all over the world.

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you, Guys. You are all such special individuals. I do miss his humble spirit and ways.

The Gal Herself said...

Oh, Mimi, this is so sweet. So beautiful. And all the while I was reading this, when you were talking about how important your dad is to you, what a big shadow he cast, I was thinking, "YOU are a parent, too, Your Highness, YOU are a grandmother, too!" You are influencing and impressing a generation, too, you know. You are touching hearts the way your dear father touched yours. Don't forget that you are here, too! You are a tribute to your dad, too, you know.

Amazing Gracie said...

Oh, Mimi... I don't know why or how I can go So long without reading here. You always have something special that either makes me smile or to he's a part of me that I know and can relate to. My deepest regret in life has been not knowing my dad as an adult, but the few yers we had together (21) were precious.

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