On The First Anniversary

Sources say that paper is the traditional gift for

the first anniversary of your wedding, a symbol

both fragile and enduring, just like the early years.

I’ve searched but can’t find anything that indicates

what gift should mark the first anniversary of your

father’s death, this day a year ago when all the light

bled out of the world. The light returned, gradually

most days yet strangely sure. But my father did not.

I’ve decided to purchase a candle from an old boutique

on Taylor Street to mark this day, a gift to symbolize

the resurrection of the light, and one day my father’s.

The fragrance I’ve chosen is the one the founders first

created in the back room of their shop—bitter orange.

I’ve chosen this so the light will be burdened with the

fragile and enduring scent of the terrible and the beautiful.

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  1. Gwen Acres on February 23, 2022 at 8:29 am

    Such a sweet ritual of communion…may it bring comfort.

  2. Coach Chuck on February 23, 2022 at 8:55 am

    Losing a father is hard at any age and doesn’t really get easier with time. Mine’s been gone 30 years and not a day passes that I don’t think of him. It’d be nice to be able to pick up the phone or run over to his house just to visit. But alas that’s not to be. So he lives on in my memories just like your dad will. And pretty much daily you’ll see or hear something and respond just like you father. He’s still here…..in you.

    • Lynda Smith on February 23, 2022 at 12:12 pm


  3. Marsha Hall on February 23, 2022 at 9:21 am

    I’m so sorry you are having to go through this heart wrenching day. It’s a day you will never forget. My dad has been gone 26 years and everyday I think of him but the day he entered heaven is a much harder day. I would think your father would not want you to be sad but it is only a natural feeling when a person loses the daily interaction with a loved one. I agree…. He’s still there…. in you. He always will be. Praying for you, Anna, and Shawn.

  4. Jane on February 23, 2022 at 10:08 am

    Just beautiful. Thank you.

  5. Jerri on February 23, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing this; & all of your poems about your dad. I lost my dad on November 2; so I’m just past my 3 month anniversary without him. They are especially meaningful to me. Take good care

  6. Duncan Hilton on February 23, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    Guy choked up reading this. Thanks, John

  7. Haley on February 25, 2022 at 10:46 am

    Beautiful, John. I admit to being extra tender reading it due to my own father currently dealing with Covid complications, and my heart hurts for him. It now hurts for yours too, in a similar but different way. We do love our dads.

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