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By Janet Roberts

From Brookfield, Wisconsin, Janet Roberts is an award-winning artist, mother, grandmother and so much more. If you haven’t read her story, “On Art, Depression and Joy,” first read this poem she wrote on losing her parents.

You’ll find her story and more of her art at

When Dad was dying, I
became a witness
to his transformation.
Or perhaps the state of
dying clarified and re-defined
the man
I had confused with
my father.
It becomes difficult to
A fragile frame that
bears the weight
of sagging flesh.
What can one make
of shaky notes scribbled
with the same hand that once coaxed
fishing lures
and jointed dolls from
bits of wood?
A man not unlike
the trees he chose to study,
I used to think his history
might be read on layered rings
just beneath
his skin.
This forester who once
could label every tree
with its proper scientific name,
and in whose presence
I never could relax
was gone.
Resembling the diminished form of an ancient tree
toppled on a forest floor, he
lay on the high hospice bed, and as I watched,
A small piece of paper, crumpled and torn
like the last leaf to let go its hold, fell to the floor,
revealing these few words:
Help……I think I am dying.
I don’t think I will hate him

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Last edited by patricia obletz.   Page last modified on March 06, 2020, at 10:33 PM

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