Still mourning my big, precious lug, Hughie.

Asked Ted, “What is it exactly we saw in him?” Not in the sense of “What could we possibly have seen in the guy,” but “What was was it exactly that so endeared this man to us?”

If we knew, maybe we could have bottled it. Like a perfume.

Hugh alienated some people because he acted like the class clown. But that was just a cover-up.

We are always talking about *our* pain, the victims of prostate cancer and their partners. But somehow, the children get pushed aside.

So when I received this brief, stark note from the “collateral damage,” Hugh’s child, I thought it would break the heart of a stone. Or pierce the veil of heaven. And, for the first time, I got really angry — enraged — at the disease that could rip a father from a young son. And at everybody who’s complicit with this.

The “War on Cancer” was started by Richard Nixon in the ’70’s. Shouldn’t we prosecute one war before we start another?

I really miss Dad.
You got no idea.
This place is so empty now.
I want to cuddle my Pops and he isn’t here for me.
Just got back from badminton — half expecting food ready.
No — Dad is gone now.
So cup of soup and slice of bread.
Empty bed and no-one to pray for.

Dear Lord God, etc.

Your servant, oh Lord, A.

And from last week:

“I wanted to sleep in Pops’ bed, so i could be near the smell of him. I cried for a while last night–this morning. Pops had a nice smell — sort of like fresh sweat mixed with new mown grass. I could almost say he was there beside me.

I’m keeping HIS bed, pillows I’ll never wash — the smell is just too good.”

Fortunately, traces of beauty linger even after the source is gone. This reminds me of this poem:

“Music, When Soft Voices Die”

MUSIC, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heap’d for the beloved’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when Thou art gone,
Love its