This is a poem I wrote soon after his passing:
NICE GUYS FINISH LAST
My daddy was toughMy daddy was kindHe was the kind of manYou very rarely find
He had such reasonTo moan and complainHe never didEven when in great pain
He always wantedMe to have the bestHe never wanted meTo be like all the rest
He was a proud manHe held his head highNever put others downOh God, Why did he die?
We watched him sufferFive long, drawn-out yearsWe sure watched him, all rightThrough the saltywet tears
The one time he criedWas on his dying bedThe last time I saw himFive days ‘til he was dead
He is gone nowWe can’t revive what’s pastNow mommy cries a lot‘Cause nice guys finish last
I can't say that this any great art, but I was a kid, and I was hurting. I have used poetry at many times of hurting in my life. I've never really shared most of my writings.
My dad was an orphan; his mother died in childbirth with his youngest brother and his father "died of a broken heart" shortly after that. His mom was German and his dad was Irish. His three sisters were old enough to find work, he and his two younger brothers went to a German Catholic orphanage. The middle brother, Chuck, died when I was a kid. I vaguely remember him as a very obese man that was buried in a double wide casket. The youngest of the brothers, my Uncle John, remained a devout Catholic his whole life. He is a Deacon, and a former National President of St Vincent De Paul Society. He is 84 now, and in frail health. I last saw him eleven years ago. All of the sisters are long gone.
My dad, Robert, was born August 9, 1918. He died April 25, 1975. He was only 56 years old. He was a Marine in WWII. He was on a bridge in Okinawa that was blown up by Kamikazes. His pelvis was crushed and he had several discs in his spine fused. He last worked as a tool and dye maker for Boise Cascade. I wish I could tell you more, but that's all I know.
Here's a picture of my dad in the Marines. I think he looked like John Wayne.