23 Jan

It took about three times
before the pattern was clear:
walk with me
stop talking
no I don’t want water
no don’t touch me
and that’s when my husband realized
that it would be best to just
sit and shut up, rub my back
hold my hand, walk with me,
obey my commands
it is not in my nature
to be that way, but
my mind was on other things
rocking back and forth
moving to a deep rhythm, within
while everything without was a distraction
because when that time comes
there’s no turning back
nothing will stop it,
and my brain starts focusing on
just one thing:
get this baby out!

My fifth time through
while I was two months shy
of the waters breaking,
my mind could still focus on
the things around me
which was a good thing
because my father was dying
and none of us knew it
because just as when that water breaks
it came suddenly, and
there was no turning back
for three weeks, he tried his best
to engage in our conversations
and humor our loving intentions
but his mind was on something deeper, within
I struggled to stay positive, to hold his hand
rub his back, tried to offer him some water
but it wasn’t until 58 days after
he said goodbye
when my baby came
one freezing morning in November
that it dawned on me, a true epiphany
all those 21 days in August and September
my father was in labor
which takes being mentally focused
without distractions
until the birthing is done.

The first day in the hospital.

The first day in the hospital.

Brian at Dverse is asking us to tell him a story today. There’s not much of a plot to this one, but it’s a story I have been wanting to put into words for a while, and this prompt gave me the encouragement to give it a shot. I seem to write often about my Dad, and I think that it is because we had a beautiful father-daughter relationship; we were very close. This poem is mostly about the process I went through trying to understand how hard it must have been for my dad to make the decision to go into hospice one week after his diagnosis of stage-4 esophageal cancer.

22 Responses to “Epiphany”

  1. claudia January 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    oh wow… that really moved me…never thought about that parallel before but makes so much sense… i needed also a bit in the first stanza to see where this would go… really nice storytelling


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) January 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    You tell a story with both sadness and tenderness, and the two sides of birth and death… really captivating, and a brave story to tell.


  3. brian miller January 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    wow. what a link between the birth and death…the death of a parent is so hard…i faced it a bit this weekend with my FIL and did a few years ago when my MIL passed away….you draw a nice parallel in this…hard subject….


    • brian miller January 23, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      did i do something…that makes you skip over me?
      don’t get me wrong, i appreciate you visiting many of the others
      just wanted to make sure i did not offend you at some point.


      • lupitatucker January 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

        Not at all Brian! Gosh – I am such an idiot. I know I have been reading your poems … I am very glad you said something!


  4. Grace January 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    I love the story, your birthing and your father’s internal struggle to survive & stay focused ~

    I like that you kept us in suspense in the opening verse & it became clear later on the effort of concentrating ~ Precious photo as well ~


  5. Glenn Buttkus January 23, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Nearly 70 now, I have seen my share of funerals, and all of them are checkmated, overshadowed by the birth of three daughters, and in a few weeks the fifth grandchild. Your story is stark with honesty, and deep in its introspection; captivating, enthralling, insightful; thanks.


  6. anmol(alias HA) January 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Heart-touching and so tender. A captivating read. Your emotions and thoughts are beautifully rendered.


  7. Mary January 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    I read your story over three times. It truly moved me. It must have been so very hard for your father and for you. Perhaps it gave him something positive to focus on though. I appreciate your willingness to share such a personal tale.


  8. Gabriella January 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    Very moving story, Lupe! You have portrayed your love and concern for your father in a beautiful way. He must have been as thankful as you were for the relationship the two of you had.


  9. alan1704 January 23, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    Love and devotion mixed together, and your heart really shows through. Beautiful.


  10. Liesl Garner January 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    Oh! You captured this so beautifully. I read through tears. You totally got me!


  11. Todd Alan Kraft January 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    You touched me. I don’t think a telling needs to be long, and involved to be powerful.


  12. billgncs January 23, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    this was a beautiful poem – how he must have loved you!


  13. seingraham January 24, 2014 at 12:40 am #

    Beautifully told, just beautifully. It echoes one of my own poems and a philosophy I developed after my youngest daughter and I sat with my mother the night before she died. We had the privilege of being with her when she died at 8 a.m. on Boxing Day, 2012 and I remember thinking as I watched her fight all night to breathe, to hang on, but ultimately, to let go, that really, dying is very much like giving birth. There is a labouring to it, sometimes a real struggle. My mother didn’t want any extraordinary measures taken when it came down to the end but I hadn’t any idea how hard it would be for medical staff (and us at it turned out) to define when exactly to draw that line. It finally became obvious to me that she was not getting any better, was fighting to take the little oxygen tent off her nose continuously, was quickly getting to the very stage she had fought to never arrive at…one where she would no longer have any say about what was happening. When I realized that her almost incoherent pleas to go, to go home, were not about going back to her apartment but were indeed about leaving life…I started working with her and asking the nurses and doctors why we making her do what she obviously didn’t want…It finally got through to them that she had a personal directive, that we were fighting a losing battle, that she was not going to “rally”…Shortly after that, she stopped fighting and I told her she should go if she wanted. She did. Want to. Her eyes cleared. She looked so grateful. And died. Sorry to rattle on…this story always feels remarkably fresh…and I see I need to write about it a good deal more.

    My poem for this week’s dVerse is here:


  14. MarinaSofia January 24, 2014 at 3:02 am #

    I never thought of that parallel before, but both are moments in life when, however much we might be surrounded by family, friends, specialists, we are truly alone. You remind me that we also need to be alone at that time.


  15. hypercryptical January 24, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    A beautiful tender write and the notion of your father in labour is a wonderful concept – and how true it might be …
    Anna :o]


  16. vivchook January 24, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    Lupe, I love this so much. I can’t stop reading it. The corollary between birthing and dying is astounding, yet feels so true. A powerful yet tender poem. I’m glad you had this epiphany – it seems it helped you understand and accept your father’s dying process. It has helped me, too, so thank you. x.Vivienne (writing as OneVoice Poetry this week)


    • lupitatucker January 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Thank you Vivienne, it did help me work through the whys and what-ifs afterwards. One of my friends related it to the “circle of life,” and that concept has stayed with me.


  17. David Smith March 31, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    Very touching!! From joyous to the opposite! Hope you’re doing well!


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