This Old Man With My Son's Face

He shuffles into the kitchen each morning

Arm wrapped around his middle, back hunched, face lined with pain

He sits in his chair with a sigh, staring sadly at his food

Knowing he needs to eat, but knowing it will hurt

His eye, once so bright and sparkling blue, now dull with pain and fatigue

I look for a trace of my boy in this old man with my son’s face.


It started simply enough, a stomach bug we thought

A stomach bug that never ended 

First his energy faded, then his weight dropped

My six foot three baby boy fading away. His color left with his weight. 

I rejoice on the rare days I see pink in his cheeks

And a sparkle in the eyes of this old man with my son’s face.


Tests and tests, supplements and medications

Try this, test for that, feed him this, don’t feed him that

Well meaning friends and family

Doctors with non answers. Liz at least gives hope

More doctors and more tests to find a cause, to find a cure

To break free of this old man with my son’s face.


“Is he missing school? Is he missing church?

You need to find a cure,” more well meaning folk tut tut

“He’s missing LIFE!” I want to scream

Instead I try to smile and say, “We’re doing all we can.

We’ve changed diet and doctors. We’ll try again and again.

To find the cause and the cure of this old man with my son’s face.


He wafts into the living room, a stiff breeze could knock him down

So thin, so pale, he folds into the chair next to me

Stooping to lay his head on my shoulder. 

I want him to talk to me, he doesn’t want me to worry 

So we sit in silence and understanding. 

And I will him to be well, this old man with my son’s face.


And always through the long days and months 

We pray and pray and pray, for answers, 

For healing that hasn’t happened yet, and it’s hard to keep the faith

But faith we do have and healing will come

If not now then soon someday, to free the prisoner

My little boy, from this old man with my son’s face.

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The Opalturtle

Sarah Sanford

615-308-0982

sarah@theopalturtle.com

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