Monday, November 25, 2019

Never to End Again

I can still remember 
Comings through your door 
Little feet would run to me
And I’d sweep you off the floor

Riding on my shoulders
Or swinging from my arm
Your laughter was infectious 
Your smile kept me warm

As the years marched onward
Into a man you grew.
Always making others smile
And glad that they knew you.

It feels like an interruption
In a conversation just begun
I’m still waiting for what you will say
For we are far from done.

And I know there will come a time
When we continue to speak
And deaths long awkward pause
Ends with the next….

Next smile
Next wink
Next joke
Next nod
Next exasperated sigh
Next inappropriate comment
Next expectant breath
Next embrace
Next words

Never to end again.

--Roy Hayward

My nephew Denny Bates passed away, March 23, 2019. We had been having lunch almost weekly. I sat and discussed politics with him just days before he took his own life. The weeks that followed were strange as I struggled to understand in my heart that we would not be continuing our conversation.

I wrote this poem soon after he passed. But I haven't shared it until today. I kept waiting for a way to make it feel complete. How could I wrap up this thought? How could I give a sense of closure to the reader? But I think it is better this way. Suicide leaves the survivors feeling like things are unfinished. That is still the way I feel.

I've had just a bit of experience with loss and grief. This one was a bit more bitter from the way it happened. I know there was probably no way for me to have predicted what was about to happen. I don't believe that our last conversation was anything but normal.

We had plans. Plans that will never be completed.

Like this poem. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Giving Back

The birth of a child,
A twinkle in our eyes.
Visions of what’s to come,
A future and a prize.

A home and a family,
We see in future mists.
They call us for advice sometimes,
A call we can’t resist.

We hold this moment close
And pray with a silent nod,
A wish and prayer for happiness,
As we have faith in God.

The sweetest smell you ever know,
That of a baby’s skin.
Then come more visions,
Time and time again.

A wedding where we watch them take
A spouse forevermore.
A time when they wave goodbye
And walk out of our door.

We hold this moment close
And pray with a silent nod,
A wish and prayer for happiness,
As we have faith in God.

A softness of the gentle kind,
The hair of a babe newborn.
A heart full of gratitude,
With another scene adorn.

They learn to walk and run and play,
To talk and ride a bike.
Then head off to go camping,
With other youth to hike.

We hold this moment close
And pray with a silent nod,
A wish and prayer for happiness,
As we have faith in God.

Our child’s life before our eye
Passed beyond our grip
Visions of love flow or’ us,
Impart a gentle kiss. 

The moments come and go
Falling like gentle rain.
Nothing more than a passing smile,
So weak against the pain

We hold these moments close
And pray with a silent nod,
A wish and prayer for happiness,
As we have faith in God.

The doctor touches gently,
And we know the time is now.
We hold each other and the baby close,
And pray once more somehow.

They stop the respirator,
Wait till his life is past.
We know the story’s end,
We hold him to the last.

We hold our baby close 
A final prayer and nod,
We raise our child up today,
And give him back to God.

- Roy Hayward


In loving memory of
Frank Edward Hayward V.
11-11-2011 to 11-12-2011

Thursday, October 10, 2019

My heart still remembers

My heart still remembers 
A time in the past
My heart still remembers 
What I thought would last 

A child so precious 
So perfect and sweet 
A soul bright and new
With tiny smooth feet

My heart still remembers 
The wonder and love
My heart still remembers 
Those gifts from above

Days we expected 
That they’d never end
Greeting each child
That heaven would send

My heart still remembers 
Our sorrow and pain
My heart still remembers 
And my soul bears the stain 

The news was then broken 
Of my family’s end
Holding his hand
My chest felt it would rend

My heart still remembers 
The darkest of time
My heart still remembers 
Those who were kind

Then heaven showed us
Another sweet road
Where children were lost
Bearing heavier loads

My heart still remembers 
Learning to love
My heart still remembers 
Children sent from above 

Though born of another 
They're children still 
And I have a home 

And a heart, and a will