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My heart belongs to Daddy

There are many ways to commemorate the atrocity that was September 11th. You could observe a minute’s silence at 9 a.m. EST. You could listen to The Rising, Bruce Springsteen’s 2002 masterpiece, as hopeful and uplifting a record as anyone might expect given that it was born in fire and blood. You could spend time with the people you love. Or you could do nothing at all, and just think.

Or, if you were so minded, you could email this to everyone you know. Who cares that it was actually written a year before 9/11 and then adapted for the glurge market? It’s unique. Incredibly unique.

Daddy’s poem

Her hair was up in a pony tail
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy’s Day at school
and she couldn’t wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her
that she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand
if she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn’t there today.
But still her mother worried
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again
she tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school
eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
a dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back
for everyone to meet.
Children were squirming impatiently
anxious in their seats.

One by one the teacher called
a student from the class
to introduce their daddy.
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
every child turned to stare
Each of them was searching
for a man who wasn’t there.

“Where’s her daddy at?”
she heard a boy call out.
“She probably doesn’t have one,”
another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say
“Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day.”

The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child
came words incredibly unique.

“My Daddy couldn’t be here
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be
since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
and how much he loves me so.

“He loved to tell me stories
he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses
and taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I’m not standing here alone.

“‘Cause my daddy’s always with me
even though we are apart.
I know because he told me
he’ll forever be in my heart.”
With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat
beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere in the crowd of dads
her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her
doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down
staring straight into the crowd,
she finished with a voice so soft
but its message clear and loud.
“I love my daddy very much,
he’s my shining star.
And if he could, he’d be here,
but heaven’s just too far!

“You see he was a fireman
and died just this past year
when airplanes hit the towers
and taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes
it’s like he never went away.”
And then she closed her eyes,
and saw him there that day.

And to her mother’s amazement,
she witnessed with surprise
a room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them
who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second
they saw him at her side

“I know you’re with me Daddy,”
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers
of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.

And a child was blessed, if only for a moment
by the love of her shining bright star.
And given the gift of believing
that heaven is never too far.

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Help the aged

I have a good friend to thank for this morning’s entry (and, indeed, for various others she’s sent – I don’t want to be excessive but I’ll namedrop her again later). Read her blog. Seriously. It’s amazing. No, wait! Don’t do it yet. Look at this first.

“This took me about three minutes to find on my feed,” says Rachel. “The blatant rip-off sentimentailty of the accompanying photo – which is NOT the photo of the man who wrote this, even if it’s true – tips it into glurge territory.”

It’s reproduced as-is, including typos, and irritating ellipses WHICH YOU WILL ENDURE BECAUSE I HAD TO.

‘ When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
One nurse took her copy to Melbourne .. The oldman’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man…..
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within … . . .
we will all, one day, be there, too!
PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM,
The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched.
They must be felt by the heart.’

— 

Here’s the funny thing. I remember this poem. I remember it from school. I remember it from my (1993 edition) Religious Studies GCSE textbook about Christian ethics – specifically the chapter on ageing and the treatment of the elderly. At this point it was ascribed to “a woman in a nursing home” (which was probably true, at some point). Viral emails existed before the web. Who knew?