Several years after the surgeries, I reread Dad’s poems. This one brought tears to my eyes.
Toy figures, hollow, with a metal weight at the bottom,
Upright, egg-shaped, refusing to lie down.
Well, you weren’t egg-shaped – just ‘well-built’,
With your sailor’s gait tuned to a virtual Atlantic.
Your progress was chaotic, your movements
Ill-suited to visiting china shops, or even
Browsing the aisles of a supermarket.
A woman with a handicap to handle.
This ‘neural deficit’ you might have lived with.
More frightening to friends and family
Were less endearing, simply scary symptoms:
Speech and memory loss, the tools of your trade.
You learned to accept the angioma mine field
Planted in your head, with courage, enough
To face the double surgery and its risks.
Are you sure that you’re my daughter?
You must have been in hell these many months
(Dante also made the trip, but he was just a tourist).
And now you’ll need those wobbly super powers
Of stubborn guts and mental inner strength
To see you through the long, slow learning process.
Discovering what lost ground can be regained,
Using those special powers to weave the cloth anew.
I am so proud of you, my much-loved daughter.