Funerals, Weddings, Births

My wife passed away sudddenly in November of last year. Two months earlier, in September, we attended our daughter’s wedding. The above wedding picture includes from left to right: my wife, Jacque; my daughter, Emily; her new husband, Jack Nelson; our younger daughter, Anne; and me. I am so grateful for the 40 rich years of life Jacque and I shared together. She never stopped learning and growing. We will all miss her more than we can say.

For the toast at Emily’s wedding, I told the story of her birth. Jacque had the traumatic experience of having all three of her sisters die young due to health complications. Because of this family history, we were worried about our pregnancy with Emily, especially after having three miscarriages, the final one in Germany where we lived for a year while I taught at the University in Mainz. Thanks to drugs we brought home from Germany, we were able to get pregnant a fourth time.


You’re here one month early,
the scalpel visible
from where I sit
with my notebook of fears,
palimpsests of ghosts
on fingers of air.

The nurse blurs by
in a moment of white,
cuts through the air
of cool anesthesia.

I watch the first spank
with no response,
then another, and another,
please breathe, please breathe . . .

Outside the window
a precarious branch
that holds the world.

Tomorrow’s bird comes.
Small mouths open
to swallow the sky.

First published in Potpourri;
Reprinted in Oklahoma Humanities Magazine.

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20 replies on “Funerals, Weddings, Births”

David…lovely article, so well written. So sorry to hear about Jacque…remain strong my friend…

Dave, thanks for sharing this lovely message. Is there any chance I can get a copy of the photo? Hope you are doing ok and survived the holidays.

A great picture with all of you to remember! Let’s pray that 2022 is easier on you and the girls!
denis vovchenko

David what a wonderful piece you have written! I remember us sitting at that beer garden with the team in Asheville, NC and you asked me to take a picture of you to share with you wife, noting that she loved to see these types of pictures. I am sorry for your loss and glad you all had 40 rich years.

The wonderful photo of your beautiful daughter’s wedding shows a happy family and a beautiful newlywed couple. It’s so heartwarming that your wonderful wife Jacque was able to stand next to your daughter Emily at the wedding. Her smile is serene and joyful.
I would like to express my condolences on your sad loss.
Greetings from the beautiful Rhine-Highlands / Germany…
Rosie 🙂🌹

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