This poem was recently shared with our Bereavement Coordinator, Karen Gore, LICSW. We thought it was beautiful and wanted to share. Learn more about our NVNA SUPPORTS groups to help families HERE
My dad’s shoes were weathered and worn. They were soft and cavernous, evidence of his wide feet. The outsides were extra worn because he was a little bit bowlegged. Some were polished and some were green with the stain of fresh cut grass. When I was little they carried me as we danced together with my feet on top of his. Even when I was not so little, he still danced with me.
His shoes had to be nimble and walk many steps, through many walks of life. Through the sophisticated streets of the theater district en route to the show, to the muddy backyard where he cultivated his Japanese maples, to the gritty streets of Somerville where he grew up, to the campfires and docks of Northwood. His shoes had to keep up with a mover and a shaker, but a simple man at the core.
My dad’s shoes held a man who was proud in the most humble way. Proud of what he had accomplished, little and big. But more proud of his friends, his family, his “kingdom”, and his life. Proud of the young professionals he taught and mentored, proud of those teenagers who set aside a week of their summer to help those less fortunate, proud of his mom for being a trooper at the eye doctor, his dad for being so sharp, proud of his wife for being a strong and independent woman to raise his little toad.
My dad’s shoes are still here, but he can’t animate them with that happy-go-lucky charismatic shuffle. I miss that shuffle, that jolly laugh, and that feeling of overwhelming and unconditional pride. It is bittersweet.
My shoes are worn on the outsides too, just like my dad’s. I am so proud of the man he was and the essence that he lived. I wish I could tell him again that I want to be just like him. I wish he didn’t have to live now only through my shoes, our shoes. But I can’t help but feel that I am stronger every day. After all, my shoes are worn just like his.
It’s been a long year, and I think of him every day, with every morsel of my being. I want so badly to keep making him proud, and I know deep down that no matter how hard on myself I can be, that who I am in this very second is enough for him. He may have been a little extra proud on April 16th when I walked my taxes to the post office after doing them all by myself.
As my dad lived these words, I share them with you: Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. #oneyearlater