Not a goodbye, a see you later, papa

By Shivani Sharma

It was a weird experience watching you transcend to another world

You held my hand when I was little and whispered ‘I will be there for you always’

Those words echoed my ears that day, almost screamed at me but I was helpless

That scorching heat that was penetrating the car windows with me trying to juggle between not letting your head bump on the rear handle and keeping that cannula in place so I could borrow some minutes until we got to the hospital

When that first hospital turned us away saying they had no oxygen, I broke a little but held hope

When the second place turned us down, I grew anxious but when the third place declared you dead, I shattered

I broke into pieces so small that it will take a life greater than mine to put it all together

My science didn’t come to work, the long 150 pages I read everyday didn’t teach me how to save my dad

You nurtured me to become this strong independent woman but I am your ‘gudia’ at heart

I question myself, will I ever grow up to accept you are really gone

When a guy breaks my heart or treats me anything less than how you treated me, who do I complain to

You sent me away for a better life and I came back only when you were in pain

You know they say when things are coming through, seem too good, expect the worse

I can’t forget that night of 29th when I got home from the airport and asked you candidly like I always did, ‘so what’s new papa’

The last conversation we had about how you will be fine now that I was here

It will stick with me forever now

Remember that one time that I was doing some stupid trick and had that candy stuck in my throat

You rushed me to the temple in your arms even when I said I was okay

I feel guilty that I could do nothing like that for you

Every time I go back the memory lane watching videos on your phone of that marriage or that trip we took

It hits me so bad that I will never get to hear that voice again

I have these episodes where I want to do the world for you and the next minute its gone

Your smile in that photo of yours at the airport and you adjusting the camera in the other video during the Vegas tour

How do I stop thinking about those moments without ripping my heart

Is it irresponsible of me if I have this desire to escape, go somewhere no one can find me

I wish I could transcend this world just once to whatever parallel world you are in

Would you meet me there and promise to never leave me again

Or you would be disappointed that I surrendered unlike you who fought against the odds with a smile on your face

I am not being selfish I promise but its tough to not break down when I need my daddy for an advice, I know no one else will have

No, I can’t learn what to do with that stock without your advice, neither can I make those big life decisions without you standing right beside me

I don’t care if its someone the same age as you, same experience as you, very close to you, I need you, no one else

Browsing through your phone and seeing all these apps on stars, fitness and what not makes me crave you even more

There was so much you wanted to explore but your life was cut short by this invisible monster

I am still searching for what will grant me the inner solace now, maybe you will again hold my hand, place it in yours and guide me

Guide me to what will keep me connected with you forever and one day we shall meet papa

My name is Shivani and I’m 26 years old. I am a student studying in the US but had to travel to Delhi since my dad got really sick from COVID-19. He was 55 years old when he succumbed from COVID and I want to honor his demise by sharing a poem I wrote to express my heart. He was very fond of poems and publishing so I want to do this for him. 

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Leslie Timmins
2 years ago

Dear Shivani: You make your sadness and helplessness and love for your father so very clear in your moving poem. May your find comfort in these words and in your memories. My own father was nothing like yours and it is good for me to read of such a sweet man.

Leigh Anne Kranz
Leigh Anne Kranz
2 years ago

Dear Shivani,
What a beautiful tribute to your father. I’m so sorry for your loss. You and your father are in my heart now. You have shared so many dear memories in this poem. I hope they bring you comfort as time passes. Peace to you.

michael lewis
michael lewis
2 years ago

In a small way you have brought your father into the lives of we who never new him. Sorry he is now no longer for you in the moment, though I know he will always be there in your heart

CChristy White
CChristy White
2 years ago

Very moving and you keep your reader in the middle/muddle of your loss. Blessings and I am so sorry for the loss of your father. With so many passing away because of COVID, it is important to remember the personal experience.

Ross MacKay
2 years ago

Gorgeous and heartbreaking in equal measure. Sending good wishes to you and your family.

2 years ago
Reply to  Ross MacKay

Thank you so much __/\__

Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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