Last month, my father came to see me in Providence and we spent a long weekend together. We traveled to Plymouth to see the landing point of the pilgrims, and while we were there, he told me that he felt he had come full circle. When I was small and we still lived in England, we visited the launching point so he had visited both sides of the pilgrims journey. Something about the comment struck me, and after he left, I cried for an hour because I had a feeling that I would never see him again. I managed to convince myself that I was just being morbid, overly sentimental, but on Friday night, when I received the phone call from my mom, I knew what she was going to tell me before she could say the words.
My father died on Friday from a massive heart attack, and while I am still reeling from the shock of it, I wanted to share the poem that I wrote to read at his funeral this morning. My voice shook, but I managed to read the poem without crying. I know he would be proud. I wrote this poem to honor my father: poet, artist, writer, carpenter, coin collector, and so much more. I will miss him forever.
In Memory of Robert Norman Richardson
November 4, 1948 - November 23, 2007
I am the twinkle in your eyes,
Eternal laughter sparkling,
Strong and silent,
I will think of you,
in backyard apple blossoms
and falling leaves.
With the scent of fresh cut wood,
And of cigarettes, like the ones you never quit smoking,
even though we all knew that you should.
I will remember you,
Standing beside the ocean;
We collected rocks and shells,
Our memories of the sea,
Quiet man, what did you see
In the swells of rising water,
In the waves that crashed on the sand?
The words left unsaid
will haunt me,
So much that none of us can know.
Like two ships passing in a silent night,
but I know you were ready to go,
A journey come full circle.
You were a pilgrim,
An explorer of the unknown,
Traveled from Scotland to Plymouth,
Following a childhood dream
Of crossing the ocean
And beside you,
Your last glance at the sea,
I with you.
That was beautiful, Moira.
Your words will help others who mourn your father, giving voice to their voiceless grief. I can't imagine a more powerful gift.Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at November 28, 2007 6:30 PM
My goodness, Moira, I'm so sorry to hear about your father. It's only suiting that you should use words to express what you're thinking and feeling, the writer that you are. You brought tears to my eyes with the images you used.
I'm thinking about you. Take care.Posted by: Karissa at November 28, 2007 6:57 PM
Thanks for the words of support. My poem brought the house down... I'm so glad that I read it. I'm sure my dad would have loved it.Posted by: Moira at November 28, 2007 7:06 PM
Praying for you and your family, Moira.Posted by: Amanda at November 28, 2007 8:33 PM
Moira, my heart goes out to you and your family. It sounds like he was a man worthy of your love and your beautiful words give him that honor.Posted by: susan at November 28, 2007 9:50 PM
It's obvious he meant the world and more to you. I'm sure he was listening and loved the poem.
You have my prayers.Posted by: ChrisU at November 29, 2007 12:40 AM