My brother-in-law, Tim Fadel, has Sarcoma. I wrote this poem recently about a sky-diving trip he took with my sister, Beth. He asked me if I would read it at his funeral. I’ll keep messing with the title. “What Color is Your Parachute?” was too cute.
Along with cancer, Tim is full of wisdom, light, love, wit, a bit of salt and a bit of pepper. Lots of love to you, brother. You are never far from my thoughts, and you and Beth always fill my prayers.
The Day You Fell
The day you jumped, the sun rose into a clear blue sky.
On uneven ground, we bent our necks looking for you,
hoping for a glimpse, hoping to recognize you,
looking for your own burst of color in the sky.
We craned our necks until they hurt.
Our very bones will carry the memory now
of straining to see you up there.
When it was Beth’s turn, you searched the sky for her
and we tried to help.
“The orange parachute! The orange one!” we said.
“That’s great!” you cried out. Thanks! I’m color blind!”
Again, our offers to help you fell short,
and instead, you brought smiles to our faces.
When it was your turn, the plane took you up there
and they say you jumped, or flew for a time.
From where we stood, we called it falling.
Did you find another name for it up there?
That thing that was happening to you?
Sometimes I picture you up there, in the rain,
that parachute, like a giant umbrella,
shielding you from those sharp, stinging drops
Or perhaps you could fall in time with them,
reaching out to cup your hands
around those cold, silver beads of light.
But there was no rain that day. No cloud.
The sun flashed off every green blade of grass.
At the end of your fall, when falling became something else,
they call it landing,
We saw your feet sliding over the earth.
Sliding over a thousand silver blades of grass, sliding.
Could you see every soft sliver of light
sliding feet first into them,
sliding, sliding, sliding home?