It took almost four years before I could even look at it again, though I thought about it during the intervening years, which included two more deaths of close family and an unwanted divorce. Alone in my house, bereft of my husband, I found myself revisiting that notebook at last, which included quite a number of works about Dad. This was the poem that had stayed in my mind the strongest.
At last I revised and shaped it, giving myself the chance to inhabit again that hospital room with Dad, living again those final hours. Holding his hand, hearing his breath. Listening as my brother Theo gently told Dad about all the things his kids had done that day--his own goodbye, though none of us knew that Dad would slip away that night.
Perhaps Dad's spirit touched me--I could feel his hand on my shoulder, his careful presence, the way he gripped his pencil, intent on the page as he crafted his own poetic lines. He'd been my guide in the world of literature. His own poetry always inspired me, but I felt I'd never come close before. For the first time I felt something of his essence in my lines. Not only is this the poem of mine that's most important to me, I hope it is my best.