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Dale, as your birthday fast approaches, just think!
You would be turning sixty-four!
Maybe by now, you’d even have retired
from a law practice I’m sure would have been successful.
It’s easy to imagine this since in my lifetime,
I’ve never personally known another man
with as much intelligence and integrity as you had.
Dale, so much of life down here on earth you’ve missed!
You left us (or rather, you were cruelly snatched away)
still in the bloom of your youth.
To think that our time without you here has now exceeded
those 31 years you spent with us on earth!
And of those 31 years, I only knew you 21 of them.
Remember the time when before your dad married our mom,
my sisters and I met you? We saw just a scrawny redhead ten-year-old.
We had no clue the huge size of your heart!
You loved so much of life: school classes, games and competitions,
debate, church dances, serving a mission, and above all, family.
Born to be a leader, surely you must know that your influence on others
has lived on and on long past your untimely death.
I think of you, recalling those nights talking at the table of our tiny kitchen.
You and I, and sometimes Mom or one of our sisters was there.
Like me, you were a night owl and how we loved our movies!
Oh, Dale, so many great movies and songs on the radio you have missed.
So many things we could have talked about these last 33 years!
When you went to college,
I didn’t get to see much more of you again, but I treasure
that one year when my own college life intersected with that of yours.
You got to see my children too when they were very young.
If only you had lived to see your many nieces and nephews yet to come!
Dale, I wish that you had lived to see
the growing acceptance of that thing with which you struggled,
How horrible it must have been for one so religious as you were,
feeling compelled by church and society to date so many women
for whom you could feel nothing more than friendship.
You never talked to me about your being gay; I wish you would have.
Everything was closeted back then, but we all knew,
and we realized how hard it was for you to stay so strong inside the church.
You loved God so much, as I know you love Him still,
for your spirit was dynamic and indomitable.
How I wish you’d lived to see the changes (at least the good ones).
With your love for politics, you would've been amazed by the fall of Berlin Wall.
You absolutely would have loved the internet and smart phones.
As the lawyer you were soon to become, you would have championed the underdogs!
Maybe you’d have even helped affect changes in certain laws
which in turn would have helped yourself to find a life of happiness
with someone you could call your own true love.
So many things I’ll never know because your life was cut short
by a stupid drunken driver.
Dale, I imagine you beyond the veil.
You are there in Paradise helping other souls.
I know this, for on earth you were a leader, a helper, and a friend to all.
When I pass away, I hope to go where you are,
for on that other side, yours is the first face there I want to see.
7/29/17 'Sad Free Verse in 2017 only' Poetry contest of Laura Loo.
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