(for Kristi Shaw, in memory of Brian Shaw)
I suppose there must have been
some sort of anger,
some sense of betrayal or disappointment
when you first knew
that he’d decided he’d had enough
of fighting this thing,
was going to leave you alone
with a daughter still in high school
and another just finished college.
You knew how much he adored both of them
it wasn’t like him to leave any club in the bag
and give up, even on the toughest course.
But then you knew, too,
the way the treatments
had left him half-alive
and sick to the bone,
the side effects barely better
than the disease that kept coming back,
like a slice that gets worse
the harder you try to hit the ball.
And once you’d decided
that you were going to be there—
not just for him but with him—
right up to whatever end was coming,
there was no turning back from there.
“I said for better or worse,
through sickness and health,
and I’m a woman of my word.”
And even though nothing about you
was made for sitting and waiting,
and even though the two weeks
turned into ten weeks,
you stayed beside him
throughout those long, thin hours,
playing through the rough
no matter what the lie,
waiting for and relying on a Greater Power.
And so, you were there right beside him
when he laid up just a few yards shy
of that last green
and finally let go of those few tears.
And, maybe, just maybe,
he said to the angels that he saw coming,
“Took you boys long enough;
my grandmother could fly faster than that.”
He smirked just a bit
and reached his hands up toward Jesus.
And Jesus said, “Come on.”
He adjusted his stance,
chipped softly toward the cup,
and followed through.