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The Passing of a Great Man

My grandfather died last Thursday. I could go on about what a bad ass he was. How he told the Marines to take their honorary medals and shove them. How he was on the path to football stardom before he got drafted for the Korean War. How he programmed computers before even our parents were embryonic clusters.

I could go on about how he admitted his son was psychotic and abusive to my family and me, and how he protected us from him while grandma pretended nothing was wrong. How he compassionately understood the vast distance that grew separating my little brother and I from his side of the family, never making us feel guilty but always telling us we are strong.

I could write many paragraphs about my grandfather, and I already have in my head – but what I’d really like to do on this day of his burial, since I cannot be there in person because the abuser is there, is share a Dylan Thomas poem, “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.” 

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

I love and miss you, Big Daddy. Thank you for showing me what unconditional love and understanding can do to for a person. You will not be forgotten.


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