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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: Eight Hundred Miles Away
By Mariane Holbrook


Eight Hundred Miles Away

“Your daddy’s now with Jesus,” sobbed my mother on the phone.
I felt it was the saddest day that I had ever known.
Dad had succumbed to cancer, fought the battle ‘til the end;
It seemed surreal, unthinkable, too much to comprehend.

We’d just returned from seeing him, to say our last goodbye.
The trip back South was long and hard and all I did was cry.
“When God decides to take your dad, we can’t go back,” John said.
“You know our funds are limited so we’ll send flowers instead.”

Our friends all called and most stopped by to show how much they cared.
Some brought bouquets of flowers, some brought meals that they’d prepared.
Each wished that they could help us out, but they had families, too.
And just like us, they all had bills that long were overdue.

Eight hundred miles away from home, it seemed too hard to bear.
I knew they’d all be gathering and wish that I were there.
“The service would be Sunday, held at two o’clock,” they said;
They’d celebrate my daddy’s life, and tributes would be read.

At two o’clock we dressed for church and sat in the first pew.
We’d have a service for my dad, with no one but us two.
We shared a hymn book as we stood to sing Dad’s favorite song;
“All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name;” we sang it loud and strong.

I stood there by the altar as I read Psalm Ninety-One.
My father read it often when our family prayers were done.
I talked about my father, what a godly man was he.
He’d told me Jesus loved me when he held me on his knee.

I told of all the sacrifices Daddy made for us;
He worked there on the railroad, had no car but rode the bus.
His seven children loved him for the standard that he set;
There’s nothing I can think of that he ever would regret.

John gave a lovely eulogy about my precious dad.
He told me of the times they’d prayed and of the talks they’d had.
When John discussed his plans to ask me if I’d be his wife,
Dad teased about a dowry; Daddy was so full of life.

We sang another hymn about the Savior Dad adored,
Then kneeling at the altar, gave my dad back to the Lord.
And as we left the church still weeping, John would hear me say,
“A service will be ending soon, eight hundred miles away.”

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This article has been read 1172 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld04/17/08
This poem is so full of emotion, and flows beautifully. What a lovely way to join your family in spirit.
Beth LaBuff 04/18/08
My heart went out to you, unable to attend his funeral, but I think it was better to see him while he was still living. You've included so many details about your dad in this tribute. Your poetry skills are excellent. I think your title is perfect for this poignant and beautifully-written poem.
Mandy White04/21/08
Mariane, how beautiful of you & John to have a your own service for your dad. I fought back tears reading this one. I agree, even though difficult, it was better to see him while he was still alive. Wonderful Poem.
Joanney Uthe04/21/08
This is wonderfully written. I loved the little ceremony in your own church with your husband. Such a lovely tribute to both your dad and to John.
Dee Yoder 04/23/08
Oh, what a choice! But, you made the right one-so good for your dad to see you and to be able to say good-bye. What a difficult time this must have been for you, but you both chose a creative and tender way to be a part of the ceremony. Very sweet and touching, Marianne.
Betty Castleberry04/24/08
I don't know how I missed this super tribute. It's got it all...it's touching, tender, and made me weepy.
Big, big congrats on your EC, sweet Mariane!
LauraLee Shaw04/24/08
Congratulations on 1st place! INcredible!
Lauryn Abbott04/24/08
What a beautiful tribute. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on your win!
Pam Carlson-Hetland04/24/08
Dear Mariane, my friend! What a beautiful poem, so very touching. It's a wonderful tribute to a wonderful Father. Well written. Congratulations on your 1st place in Editors Choice! Blessings to you!
Helen Dowd04/24/08
Congratulations on First Place. You deserve it. I always enjoy your poems and stories, Mariane. You rank amongst my favourite authors, along with a few others, whom I can't name here, but I know you know who they are....Thanks for always being an inspiration to me...Your dad was a great teacher to you...God bless you....Helen
Beth LaBuff 04/24/08
Marianne -- Congrats on 1st place with this awesome poem!
Joy Faire Stewart04/24/08
Congratulations on your win. This is beautiful!
Debbie Wistrom04/24/08
Oh how this touched my heart, Thank you.

Congrats so well deserved!
Sheri Gordon04/24/08
Congratulations on your 1st place. This is really touching, and very well written.
Karen Wilber04/24/08
Beautiful. I thought I would be sad reading this--but it lifted me up. Such hope and peace and joy in the midst of suffering--that really comes though in this poem.
Pamela Kliewer04/24/08
Congratulations on your win. What a wonderful tribute to your daddy. I had tears in my eyes for you as I read this emotion packed piece, so well done.
Linda Watson Owen04/24/08
Oh, my dear friend, Mariane! What a wonderful, heart birthed poem! I know how very much your precious father meant to you. What a truly beautiful tribute this is! Congratulations on soaring to the top of the charts right where this excellent poem and its stellar poet should be! We all love you, and we love to read all of your remarkable poems and stories! Again...congratulations!
Edy T Johnson 04/25/08
My dear Mariane, I can't stop crying. This just tears my heart out, in a category with Eugene Fields' "Little Boy Blue." I definitely want an autographed copy of this book. What a gift God gave you in both your Dad and in your exquisite ability to write about him. This couldn't be more perfect, and I just love you to pieces, my friend.
Peter Stone04/25/08
Congratulations on this touching poem. Loved how you kept weaving 'eight hundred miles away' into it.
Julie Arduini04/26/08
Congrats on first place, it is well deserved. This poem held my tears captive. Amazing piece of work I won't soon forget.
Angela Posey-Arnold05/10/08
Oh Marianne--that is beautiful. Not many things make me cry but this did.
Thank you. So beautifully written.