This urn; these ashes

Your ashes near, I drive you
home, headlights on;

a funeral procession
of one. I imagine everyone

pulls over, heads
bowed, hands over hearts

for you, a good man.

I am too somber. The time
of disease, of dementia, is over.

Now, I can remember
how you made us laugh.

Now — in a form no one
would recognize —

you assume the shape
I knew, a familiar twinkle

gathering in your clear
and brightening eyes.

You look at me, mock serious,
abrim with the old mischief.

Tell me the truth,
you say: Does this urn
make my butt look big?

Remembering Jim Terwilliger, who made us laugh. Thanks, Dad. 



  1. I love this. There is so much truth here. You honour your dad with your loving and heartfelt words. I love that you have your good memories. I bet he’d love your sense of humour. My Mum died on February 8, 2021. I am still grieving. And that is okay. It means I loved and love is always good. I am glad that you spoke of remembering the good. It made me think. And remember. My Mum had dementia. But before that, she was a go getter, a lover of life, of fun…so many good memories. May both your dad and my mum rest in peace.


    1. Thank you for your response and sharing your experience. Losing a parent is a difficult and often complicated milestone. Of course, you are still grieving. I suspect we carry certain griefs until we die, but that they become tempered more with good memories as time passes. At least, I hope so. 🙂


  2. Funeral procession of one. And then that ending that we all appreciate. Thank you for this beautiful poem and tribute to your dad. The time of disease, dementia is over. I am sorry. Yet now you remember the laughs. Thank you for sharing.


    1. You’re welcome; thank you for reading. Wishing you happy holidays.


  3. Such a heartfelt journey of emotions in this short poem, Cate. Hopefully you will mostly remember the laughter. I think of my dad every day since his passing in May. Mementos of his life are now scattered around our house. Some painful, some wonderful. I wish you peace. -Russ


    1. You, too, Russ, and thank you. I do, already, mostly remember the laughter, but those of us who have experienced this know that losing even a greatly diminished parent is complicated emotionally. Sending affection and warm wishes to you and yours this holiday season, Friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Guessing your dad would applaud this poem. There is indeed the choice to remember those gone as they were long before departure – a gift both to the one recalling and (I believe) the one remembered.


    1. I hope so, Jazz; he had a wonderful sense of humor that even Parkinson’s hadn’t quite erased completely. But it would have, along with the rest, had COVID not taken him. Small mercies.

      Thanks for still reading; it’s been awhile!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautifully done, Cate. And that ending is perfect!


    1. Ah, thanks for the encouragement, Bob. Not a great poem, but I’m blowing out the cobwebs, and I don’t think Dad would mind. 🙂


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