The Good Man | Teen Ink

The Good Man

September 7, 2018
By outspoken_poet SILVER, Logan, Utah
outspoken_poet SILVER, Logan, Utah
8 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Of all sad words of mouth or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been."
- John Greenleaf Whittier

I remember it so vividly

The phone call

Her cries ringing in my ears

Words I can never unhear

Why did it have to come back?

Seven years ago

The first time

We ruptured

He splintered

And She became the equivalent of a single mom

Doctor’s offices,

Hospital rooms,




Had become all too familiar

What was going on?

Why us?

When would it stop?

Questions flew through my mind

I had been too young to understand

We saw him that Christmas through a computer screen

Why did it have to come back?

One year ago

The second time

We fractured

He broke

And She struggled under the weight of it all

It was as if our lives had slipped out of our hands

We were falling

Crashing to the ground

More radiation tore him apart

He would come home



When he’d see us he would straighten and smile

As if to hide his pain from us

We saw it anyway

People tried to tape us together

But it wasn’t the same as before

We seemed irreparable

Why did it have to come back?

Six Months Ago

The third time

We shattered

He crumbled

And She was reliving the nightmares





Have become all too familiar

I am older now

No longer confused

I understand

All my questions have been answered

Just not the way I wanted them to be

Why did it have to come back?

Through all of it

He looked on ahead

For the light at the end of the tunnel

He was glass that had been shattered too many times,

Yet He was always repaired with gold

Laughter healed the cavities,

Smiles patched the rifts,

Humor mended the fissures,

Piece by piece

Day by day

He glued us back together

He fixed Us

When He was the one that was broken

It took a while

But this time

We stuck

We have experienced Pain




Complete and utter fear

But we have been fixed

Though the future is still uncertain,

The pain has faded

The worry has subsided

But that doesn’t mean the scars are gone

We are full of cracks and imperfections

We are chipped and

We are worn

But do not mistake us for fragile

Don’t think we are weak

Do not treat us delicately

This has only made us stronger

And despite all of His faults

He remains

The strongest person I have ever known

One month ago

The Fourth Time

We absorb the shock

That’s the way we were built

To withstand the worst storms

In the beginning it hurt

Now we’re numb

Can’t feel the tears

Sliding down our face

But even cement cracks under too much pressure

And emotions seep out

It’s worse this time

The tumors spread

Lower spine

Upper spine


It’s worse this time


They say he has months

They won’t go beyond months

It hurts

Everything hurts

The doctors are using Chemo

Trying to save his legs

Why can’t they save all of him?

He says it part of a plan

That it will all work out

I believe Him

I need a miracle

Everyone says when


It’s as if they have given up already

I can’t afford to think that way

Why not if

If means hope


It’s inevitable

But inevitable is not immediate

Help me

Help us

Help Him

Why can’t they save him?


It can be hard to process

I haven’t yet

I still think He’ll be here for everything

For all the firsts

The First day of High School

My First Date

My First Prom

My First Kiss

And for all the things that last

My Wedding

My kids

His Grandkids

And for all the little moments

Cheesy dad jokes


The sound of the door opening at six o’clock every night

The sound of laughter

Forehead kisses

Playing the piano together

Teaching me how to row a boat

How to fish

How to ride a bike

Dancing on his toes

Teaching me about life


It hurts us all

We’re scared

But were thankful for the old days

The memories we’ve made

Dusty old photo albums

Video tapes from years ago

All ghosts that dance across our minds

Thy will be done

Four words

Keep me from falling apart

Thy will be done

We don’t shatter this time

The fall is definitively harder

But we hold on to each other

We hold on tight

Because if we break

Then He breaks

And there is no guarantee that we’ll come back from that


Spare Him!

Save Him!

Words burst from my mouth in a cascade of agony

We can’t lose him!

They say I don’t know a thing about acting

But the truth is

I know a lot more than they do

Because all of this is an act

They can’t see that I’m just a facade

A broken glass arranged to look whole

A mirage of water that was never really there

And the truth is

I learned it from him

Those rare moments when He thinks He’s alone

But He isn’t

When I see His face

Twisted in pure anguish

He puts up a show

To spare us from the pain

His pain

The worst part is that most of it isn’t physical

It’s emotional

He can’t bear the thought of losing us

Nor we Him

I think of how strong he must be

He helps me stay together

When he’s the one falling apart

He has never given up

And He never will

He is

The strongest man I will ever know

Last Week

We went to the cemetery

So he could pick out his plot

Mom visited the mortuary

Making videos of how to do things

Things that he always did

Like setting up the trailer

Turning on the sprinklers

Fixing the fireplace

He needs help to walk

He leans on us

Can’t bare the thought of using a walker

They’re going to Alaska

He and Mom

Going on a fishing trip

Going to see my uncle

One last time

We stay home

Spending the day at school

The night at my aunt's


Mom calls home

They’re coming back early

He can’t walk

My uncle is coming too

To Help

We need to clean

So we do


The first time He has missed church in years

But they bring it to us

The sacrament

He is unable to hear out of his left ear

Sleeps most of the time

When he talks it is almost inaudible

He asks me to draw his fish

I do

I show it to him

A quiet whisper escapes his lips

“It’s perfect.”

Quiet tears escape my eyes


We skip school

We think it’s His last day

We spend hours at his bedside



We go to the last half of school

Come home

Fall asleep by his side


We skip school

My other uncle comes from Atlanta

Our house is full of family

We fall asleep by his side

I wake

I hear His slow gasping breaths

I count the seconds between them






12 Respirations per minute

9 per minute


I watch as His last breath leaves his body

I hear

A muffled cry

His Mom

My Grandma

She runs to get my Mom

And my family

We watch through a blur of tears

As the color slowly leaves his face

We cling to each other

We already said goodbye to him

We don’t this time

It isn’t him

Only his body

Mom calls the nurse

Then the mortuary

They come

And leave

I whisper “Safe Travels”

He is still

The strongest man I have ever known

And by medical standards

He is a survivor

Of Cancer

The time bomb


But the only way He would want this to end

Is simple


And the only way I can do that

Is to simply

Say that

In the end

He died

Not only a strong man

But a good one

The author's comments:

This is a true story about my dad's struggle with cancer.

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This article has 7 comments.

on Sep. 22 2018 at 11:17 am
outspoken_poet SILVER, Logan, Utah
8 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Of all sad words of mouth or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been."
- John Greenleaf Whittier

@Malcolm_Chase, @StArFish1202 , @PaisP, @AutumnDawnNolan, @wandererinthemist, Thank you all so much!!

on Sep. 21 2018 at 3:12 pm
Malcolm_Chase PLATINUM, Madison, South Dakota
32 articles 0 photos 161 comments

Favorite Quote:
Not all those who wander are lost
- J. R. R. Tolkien

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it
- Confucius

Believe you can and you're halfway there
- Theodore Roosevelt

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
- Albert Camus

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.
- Aristotle

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!
- Audrey Hepburn

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
- Helen Keller

Wow, this is...this is just an absolutely amazing story. The way you've written this grabs the reader by the heart, and pulls them onto the midst of your story, and your struggle. It was breathtakingly beautiful and heart-wrenchingly amazing. Thank you for choosing to share your story outspoken_poet. Keep your father's memories close to your heart. I'm sorry you had to experience this...this terrible thing. And to see it play out the way you did, time after time after must have made it so much worse. quite possibly the best story of read - not only recently - but for a long time. I appreciate that you have written this brought me to tears to read this, and it made me realize how lucky I am, and how strong you and your family are. And of course your father. Remember him as who he was...thank you again.

on Sep. 21 2018 at 1:27 pm
StArFish504 SILVER, Taylor, Texas
8 articles 0 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
Procrastination rules the nation!

I could feel everything here At the end my eyes were brimming with tears.. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I hope that you and your family continue to stand strong and stand together. Keep Him in your thoughts and memories, because from this I can see that he truly was a great, strong man.

PaisP SILVER said...
on Sep. 14 2018 at 2:26 pm
PaisP SILVER, Windsor, Colorado
6 articles 0 photos 3 comments
I am truly sorry for your loss. May God give you peace. You'll be in my prayers.

on Sep. 13 2018 at 4:01 pm
AutumnNolan GOLD, Cresco., Iowa
11 articles 5 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. - Maya Angelou

wow..... I really felt like I was going through it with you. I am sorry for your loss....

on Sep. 13 2018 at 2:53 pm
wandererinthemist SILVER, Aurora, Illinois
8 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
It does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live.
- Albus Dumbledore

This is beautifully written. I am so terribly sorry you had to go through all of this pain. I know from personal experience that this means nothing when you feel this way, but my prayers are with you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story.