Poet, Playwright, Workshop Facilitator
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Welcome to daily nature photo and creative writing blog, #NewThisDay

Welcome to my daily nature photo blog

Writing from My Photo Stream ~ Kelly DuMar


#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream

Breeze Blown French Caribbean Dress

Breeze Blown French Caribbean Dress

Almost exactly this time a year ago tonight I was with my brothers and sisters, uncle and aunt, saying goodbye to my father. This day of bright sunshine by the sea, has been so remarkably different from the one I spent with him in memory care at our bedside vigil. But my heart, tonight, is there, in the room. Just a few days after his death, I wrote a draft of what became, "Goodnight," the last entry in my chapbook of poetry and prose, Tree of the Apple, which arrived on my doorstep, published two weeks ago. In honor of this anniversary, I will share it here:


This chapter begins with a wish and a fight. My brothers, sisters and I, all five of us, agree to have dinner at my house on a Sunday night because my sister is in town from Seattle. As it happens, it’s Valentine’s Day. My eldest brother has been e-mailing. We know his disease will take our father some time in the next months. He never explicitly shared his wishes about a plan for his service or burial. Implicitly, he trusts us. We will know what to do when where and how and we’ll do it.

There is agreement on this: a memorial service in place of a funeral.

About where and how to say goodbye to him, we wish to agree on a place for this service to honor his life. One of us has passionately e-mailed a vision of the ideal choice. We all make a virtual agreement.

But, by the fire, after dinner, my living room warm with intentions, we do what siblings do when saying goodbye to a parent. We split into opposing camps. We assert both logical and emotional arguments. Alliances form; tensions escalate. Old wounds, still fresh, still hurt. We say we don’t want to fight and we do. We say goodnight to break the tension, conflict unsolved, emotions raw, and maybe because it’s about him we manage to hug each other before leaving.

The following morning, an urgent call from the director of nursing draws us to his bedside in Memory Care to say goodbye so much sooner than we’d imagined.

We surround his bed, all five of us. We stay until he passes, peacefully, the next night. And while we’re with him that first afternoon, waiting, we laugh raucously as children re-telling stories of our misspent youth.

Outside the window daylight drifts to dusk then dark. Residents in pajamas wander in and out of our room looking for loved ones. Hudson pops his head in to ask if we’ve seen the keys to his car. For privacy, we close the door. As we turn the lights low the mood turns solemn. Out of the ready-for-bedtime stillness, a question is posed –– what’s your favorite Charles Dickens novel? My answer comes last – David Copperfield, and as it turns out, no one but me has read it.

One of us has an idea. Let’s read it now! We do not discuss this. Swiftly, David Copperfield downloads onto my brother’s I-pad. Seated around my father’s bed, we take turns, reading to each other with the masterful passion of a parent comforting a child to sleep at the end of a day breaking
— Copyright 2017, Kelly DuMar, From Tree of the Apple, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


All photos and text copyright 2017 by Kelly DuMar