Who Died on the Twenty-second of April?
Actor Will Geer, everyone’s Grandpa (Walton), died
of a respiratory ailment and was buried in his beloved grove.
Ansel Adams, rugged hiker with a camera, died
of cardiovascular disease in intensive-care.
Huey Newton, social activist, was shot
on the street in Oakland.
Cesar Chavez died
of arrhythmia precipitated by fasting and was buried
in a casket of unvarnished pine.
Pat Tillman, football player and US Army Ranger, was killed
in a canyon in Afghanistan.
Erin Moran, the Happy Days actress who lit up TV screens, was found dead
at a trailer park in Indiana.
Jean, my mother, died
of complications from Alhzeimers
in her bed at home
while across town, my father, Americus, died
of exhaustion and grief on a hospital gurney.
I stood near each of them, listened to them breathe.
I mourned with them and for them
and walked away into the rest of my life.
They are survived by me, their only child.
I think of them often and am mindful that,
when it comes to death,
I’m up next.
*** At first, I thought it a rare occurrence that a husband and wife would die within hours of each other.
Since this unusual event in 2001 happened in my own life, I have learned otherwise.
Have you heard similar stories?