There’s a man that I knew, not too close, not too far, as a child he was there to tend to my scars. A man with a past, of that I had no doubt, a man, when provoked, who knew how to shout. A happy man with a smile for all, he'd always be there to pick me up when I'd fall. And though never far away, we were never very close, a sign of those times one can only suppose. But I loved him. Now as time moved on I matured and grew, a family of my own I now saw things anew. The man, as a child, that I thought I had known seemed to change before my eyes, a hard life taking its toll. Strangely enough and not before time our relationship blossomed, it made my heart shine. He loved his grandchildren; how they laughed and they played, he always had time, no excuses ever made. And I loved him. We soon began to talk and enjoy things the same, it was late in the day and as such quite a shame. But then Dad became ill and could no longer hide the insidious destroyer that was growing inside. For long years he battled and for a time he seemed free of the terrible disease that would not leave him be. The clock of his life was now running down, but no tears, no sadness, no worries or frown. And I loved him. He wouldn't give in and let us all know that his time was now short, he would soon have to go. A man once so tall, so tough and so proud, his heart beating strong and his voice booming loud. The head of the family, protector of all, to nurture, support, a role model to call. He was always around when I needed him most, as gentle as a feather yet strong as a post. And I loved him. Adored from afar, respected and revered. A clown full of laughter and yes, even feared. Cut down far too soon, he had so much to give. A friend, now so close, it’s not fair, let him live! Crumbling from inside and so painfully thin, so cruel and heartless, a tragedy; a sin. Snatched from my grasp with a heart rending cry, please give him back, I don't understand why? You see, I loved him. After all the years of my life, young and old, so many good times, fun and laughter untold. Once a distant observer, I was now at ringside, no longer a stranger, no wasteful divide. Too soon, too soon, can't you give us more time, this can't be it all, not the end of the line? And then just an emptiness, a terrible rift, the weight on the soul is impossible to shift. For I loved him. Nothing left to show, just a memory, a hole, a feeling of loss I just couldn’t control. A man who for most of our time seemed aloof, had grown into my life and I needed no proof. His pride had been there for us all to see, the gleam in his eyes when he looked at me. 'A grafter' he’d once called me with beaming pride, the smile on my face was impossible to hide. For I loved him. I'm glad, before his end, I was able to show that it wasn't all wasted, for he helped me bestow some of that jovial love, that heart-warming smile, on those in my life who had enjoyed his style. Regrets, we all have and they're all part of life, some hard to accept and some cut like a knife. But mine are so simple, so normal, so plain and yet they still fill me with saddening pain. Because I loved him. For all that we did and the closeness we shared, I just couldn't open up and tell him I was scared. If I could just have a minute with the man that I miss, it would be a sweet moment of heavenly bliss. I would hold him so close and squeeze him so tight and on his sweet brow kiss him gently goodnight. I would look in his eyes, so sweet and so blue and simply say to him, "Dad, I really love you." Written by Darren Scanlon, July 2012. Revised by Darren Scanlon, 17th May 2015. ©2015 Darren Scanlon. All rights reserved.