A Final Birthday Wish

What do you give a dying dad?

Today’s my father’s last birthday
before he passes on.
The cancer’s traveled through his bones.
I know he’ll soon be gone.

His face is gaunt. His body’s frail.
Yet in his tired eyes
I still can see a gleam of hope
his shriveled frame denies.

He doesn’t want a piece of cake.
He has no need for gifts.
Our presence is what he wants most.
That’s what gives him a lift.

Surrounded by the ones he loves,
my dad flashes a smile.
That boyish grin I’ve cherished since
I was a chubby child.

He smiled when I learned to walk.
When I first rode a bike.
He beamed with pride to see me preach
behind a pulpit mike.

He smiled at my firstborn’s birth.
He grinned when I went gray.
His knowing smile eased the pain
when our pet passed passed away.

Today he’s 82 years old.
The age at which he’ll die.
The thought of it knots up my gut.
I breathe a heavy sigh.

I also breathe a whispered prayer
of gratitude and praise.
My father’s impact on my life
will last beyond his days.