In the end my father died of pain when my siblings and I were turning him to change his sheets. I was holding his wrists and I felt his pulse stop. The breath went out of him and his gaunt face released its tension and pain. He was suddenly at peace, suddenly relaxed and beautiful, his face like the face of a holy figure. Not a single one of us were saying, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” as Dylan Thomas urged his father. Our father had fought and he had lost.

into the room
with the late yellow light
voices of children


29 thoughts on “Late

  1. No one does it better, Belinda. What a lovely, polished haiku. The prose is powerfully evocative, but the haiku pulls at my heart. 🙂


        1. Thank you Al (is that what I should call you?)
          It was a long time ago now so I don’t feel it sharply anymore. It is still very vivid in my memory. these things are so outstanding.

        2. You can call me what you want from my pen name. I use the whole name but it doesnt matter either way 🙂
          I am glad it doesnt hurt like before and I understand about vivid memories, they keep coming back for pondering

    1. Thanks Kristjaan. Of course it is not at all a distillation, but the way I see it, a prompt is a prompt. one follows what it prompts! 🙂 Your prompts are wonderful lately. I have not been able to work with them all because I am a little overwhelmed with life.
      Glad to hear your Dad is in the clear

      1. Thank you Belinda for being a member of our haiku-family … prompts are for inspiration and inspiration takes you to all different places … thanks for your good wishes accirding to my dad …

  2. Well done, Belinda! Three years ago, after the worst in a very long series of strokes, I watched my father “survive” on life support for a day and a half. It was ugly and unnatural. When I was finally asked if I thought he should be “let go,” I couldn’t say yes fast enough. In death, he looked more alive than he had for several years prior. Your haiku really touched me. . . .

    1. thanks Kenny.
      yes, it changes you doesn’t it? death is not frightening to me. getting to that stage however… even so, it was a gift to be able to nurse a dying parent. I was about 30 at the time, and it was like the next stage of learning how to be a human. grief became something I could stand witnessing and therefore I could be there for suffering people

      1. “The next stage of learning how to be a human” is an extremely good way to put it – very well said! Professionally, I’ve worked with older adults for the past couple of decades. I learned long ago that I better put death in its proper perspective or I’d never be able to tolerate the fact that, despite my best efforts, every single person I serve at work is going to die on my “tour of duty.”

        Again, you did a wonderful and moving job on this post!

  3. In his last days my father could not speak. We flew in from all over. But he chose to pass when no one was with him…

    One might miss the opportunity to be a parent, but we are always someone’s child.

    1. sweet Jules, that is of course true and everything adds to our empathy and growth.
      I know of a lot of people who despite vigilant family, pass when there is the slightest opportunity of being alone. One of my great friends did so when their family went out of the room to decide about taking him off life support. I was told by a palliative care nurse it happens all the time.

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