Since this is my first Father’s Day without my Daddy, I wanted to share a poem I wrote for him when I was in college. I read this same poem at his funeral on June 9th, 2015.
Sitting in your family room chair,
Your remote control in one hand,
A feisty little puppy attacking the other.
Glancing in my direction and smiling
As the mirror image of you sits on the couch.
Instead of watching TV, I watch you,
Sitting there in your sweatpants,
Relaxing in a room built by your own hands.
You, content just watching TV with your faithful dog at your side,
And your youngest daughter home from California.
I notice your gray roots, dyed since the age of nineteen, now taking over
Normally a sign of old age, but on you, a sign of endurance,
A six foot three pillar of strength that holds our family together
With your Popeye arms and legs and the belly of a Buddha.
You are the superglue that fixes even the smallest broken pieces
Bonding us all together for a lifetime, no warranty needed.
I notice the orange ring around your chest
A daily reminder of your days of water patrol in Vietnam,
Agent Orange seeping through your camouflage.
A memory you fail to discuss
But a memory that drives you to fight and protect
No soldier left behind, no veteran left behind.
Your hands, covered with scars and calluses,
Reminders of your hard work, starting at the age of 14
When your parents concentrated on raising your seven brothers and sisters.
Hands that could repair anything.
(Except the stupid, you can’t fix stupid)
Hands that picked us up when we fell down.
Suddenly you burst into laughter, watching a Bruce Willis flick on TV.
I watch your eyes as you laugh, your crystal blue eyes.
I can see a blue ocean of emotions reflected in your eyes.
The memories of surviving a devastating war zone.
The sadness caused by the loss of your parents.
The joy of renewing a lifelong love with your soulmate.
The contentment of a stable career after years of struggle.
And most of all, there is the love for three children.
I stare at your chest and watch your heart pound.
Three attacks to that very heart and it still
Continues to pound deep within your chest
Filled with the love you have for family and friends
Filled with passion for justice and a desire to help those in need
Filled with compassion for all walks of life
Even the damn cat who always wants to go outside
But not for the stupid, “you can’t fix stupid.”
My amazing father, you have been through so much
And you continue to see the world as you do.
You are my role model, my inspiration
I strive to make you proud, your mini-me.
You taught me the importance of standing up for my beliefs,
To always follow my dreams and never give up
Fight the good fight and help when you can
And no matter what happens, you can still find joy.
You can fight through the pain—take a Motrin if you need it.
So I sit here and I look at you, the man
Content, sitting in your chair, watching TV, playing with your dog
And you have your daughter home from California.
In Memory of Robert “Bob” Brinker
July 14, 1949 – June 3, 2015