Goodbye, Dad

Posted on November 25, 2019 by

I’ve never been good at saying goodbye.

Always, I look to poetry, prose, to the words of those that came before me for such ancient experiences as this.

I search nature, beauty that I love and find solace in

the starlings drawing on the sky,

the frogs singing me to sleep,

the owl perched high in the pine, watching over me.

The wind in the pines comforts.

I search for the scent of narcissus and the feel of a soft fleece vest, zipped tightly, protecting me from the looseness of saying goodbye

shielding me from endings,

holding in what I can’t afford to exhale quite yet.

There’s comfort in poetry, in the written word, scratching black ink into my journal by candlelight.

No one else gets in there…only the current from my mind, the breath in, then out, deep and resonant.

Through the crack in the window, crows call to daybreak,

orange and gold ribbons lift the darkness, ever so slightly.

Grief and gratitude go hand in hand, I’m learning,

and goodbye comes in the smallest moments,

slinking around my spirit until I’m silent and still

and spot the starlings scattering in the sky

wondering if it’s you.

Please read my dad’s obituary here

Starlings in Winter

Chunky and noisy, but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire and instantly they are acrobats in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air they swing over buildings, dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star that opens, becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again, and you watch and you try
but you simply can’t imagine how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing, this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again, full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
From:  Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays Copyright ©:  Mary Oliver


Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Comments: 9

  • Best Books I Read In 2019 - mamawolfe

    July 13, 2020

    […] And then the year just sort of exploded – in some ways great, with lots of new professional opportunities (hello AVID Staff Developers!) and others personally challenging (saying goodbye to my dad). […]

  • Carrie Pilon

    November 27, 2019

    Bless you, Jennifer. It’s been too long since we’ve seen each other but it seems our lives continue to run parallel… Grieving is lonely — Even when we’re not alone. I am holding you in my heart, tearfully but with love.

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      November 27, 2019

      Oh thank you. I miss you, my friend. Cameron is here and always holds you in the highest regard, as do I.

  • Nancy Hoppe

    November 26, 2019

    Thank you for your writing. May you find the comfort you need and seek.

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      November 26, 2019

      Thank you for your kind words. They are comforting in themselves.

  • Susan Towne

    November 25, 2019

    No matter the circumstances, nothing really prepares us for the finality of death. Thank you for your poignant words….

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      November 26, 2019

      Susan, that is so true. We now learn to live in a different way. Thank you for your sympathies.

  • Michelle Wilson

    November 25, 2019

    This is beautiful, Jen….

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      November 25, 2019

      Thank you. It’s how I find comfort and process all of this…

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