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Today marks the second anniversary of my dad’s death. For the last week of his life I sat beside him by day tending to his needs with my stepmom and by night she and I slept on either side of him. In those quiet and still moments, when the lights went out I would open my journal and write my heart out in the dark. I never saw my written words until I read through them a year later. Below is an excerpt from my private journal the night before he died. It is raw in every way—including the grammar and paragraph breaks. And I should mention before you read on—my dad endearingly called me La (pronounced Law) and Toons. Tonight I wish to share this part of my grief journey with you as a way of honoring my dad and continuing my journey.

Photo by Laura Krämer

Photo by Laura Krämer

June 17, 2012 11:54 pm @ Dad’s bedside

How did we get here Dad?

You there lying in a bed.

So still. So very still.

With only the sound

of breath whooshing

in and out.


These are the

breaths of heaven

that pull deep from the gut.


Deep cries to deep.


How did we get here?


Me at your bedside watching you

as you used to watch me.


How did we get here?


You so strong,

so full of life

lying here

as death slowly settles in.


…and yet there is still life.


Life in the moments.






I wouldn’t trade

these moments

for anything.


How often did

I climb into your bed,

afraid of the night and

fears that haunted me?


You kept me close

snuggled in

and I was safe.

Safe with you.

Your breathing—

the sounds of your breath whooshing

in and out was comforting.


You were here

near, and with me.

I was not alone.

Never alone.


And now—even more

your breaths bring comfort…

because you are still here,

near, and with me.


But now I tremble

at the moment

the breaths stop



and never return.


What then will comfort me?


What then?


Who will call out

La or Toons?




I swear he saw me today.

And when he blinked,

I blinked and so on.

I want to be here



with him


so he knows he is

not alone


I am here.





Photo by Laura Krämer

Photo by Laura Krämer