Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Poetry and personal essays have been included in hard & softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items/ photos/ memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian.
I don’t understand death or why daddy doesn’t come home anymore. I expect daddy to come in the door, or walk in the yard with his funny plaid hat and enjoy the square of grass and flowers. Today I saw a man who also had one shoulder a bit droopy; he was walking and I was sure it was daddy and ran up to him. I only thought daddy walked and looked that way from the back.
Everyone came over bringing food and things. Mom wanted someone in her bed last night but I just couldn’t stand the sound of her breathing and she snored sometimes from the medicine the doctor gave her to help her sleep. I opened and closed daddy’s dresser drawer to smell the smell it has. Everyone tells me I have to cry. I can’t. He can’t be dead or rotting in the ground or crumbling like I imagined Washington to be doing at Mr. Vernon when we went on a trip. My daddy is not going to rot or anything: if I don’t cry, he’ll come back ‘cause it won’t be true.
I had to sit in a limousine all the way to Long Island and then lift a shovel, fill it with dirt, throw the dirt on top of the wooden box that I’m supposed to believe my father’s in. I was carrying out an assignment. He wasn’t in there. I was acting, like in the movies or the theatre. He’ll be home and talk to me, won’t he? He’ll be home soon so I can thank him for the yellow Crane stationery that came in today’s mail. Won’t I hear his voice, watch him turn into a grey old man, listen to the boring stories about his childhood? Sure. He’ll be home. When?
If daddy is dead, then I hate what I’ve learned about in Sunday School because a Supreme Being doesn’t do these things like war and death and everything. No one wants to hear these things and wouldn’t answer me when I demanded to know how the Lord can allow this?
Men standing under umbrellas outside are selling hot dogs. And some kids from school will be rowing in Central Park this afternoon. I’d like Italian ices right now ‘cause my throat is dry. Daddy taught me how to push the ices up the cup and squish the bottom. No one dies on a pretty spring day!
I can’t stand all the people around. They’re all alive and go home with others alive. Dead. Dead. Dead. NO! Why didn’t the grave digging men even look over? How could they not care at all and that be their job? Inside the hole, the dirt look reddish. Why? Will daddy turn into red dirt? Is he afraid? Is it dark in the ground in a closed box?
Diary. Got to close now. The ink is running on this page. No. I don’t want to cry. He’ll be gone with salty eye stuff. Daddy. I miss you.