Poem – 56 Years

56 Years

 By Suzanne Chait-Magenheim, LCSW

(about my mother who died in 2010 written 10 days after my father’s funeral, 1995)


Lost in his big armchair

Like a little lost waif

Clutching his photo.

Forlorn and lost

Is that him at the door?

56 years.


She waits.

Is this a cruel joke?

Suddenly, an empty house

She heard the rabbi say

His name at the funeral

Hey, that’s Daddy’s name

She whispered to her daughter

That’s my husband’s name

She thought

Wait til I tell him.

Be quiet, it’s Daddy’s funeral,

Her daughter whispered back.

Oh, he’s dead.  I forgot.

She waits.


Doesn’t remember the hospital.

6 weeks they say….

I was with him…they say

I’m confused.  Memory’s not so good


He died.  Daddy’s dead.

When’s he coming home?

56 years.

She waits.


The sweetest man who ever lived.

A jewel of a man, the rabbi said.

He’s all I know.

He’s the only one I ever liked,

I tell my daughter.

We had a wonderful love life,

I tell her.

But you dated a lot, her daughter said.

Oh, that didn’t mean anything.

Oh, you yelled at him all the time

Oh, that didn’t mean anything.

We were together.

That’s all that mattered.

56 years.


Where’s Daddy?

He died.


10 days ago

That’s all?

She waits.


I don’t remember his being ill.

Oh, he sat in his chair and didn’t go out anymore

But we were happy just to be together.

We were supposed to grow old together.

He did, my daughter says.

No, no, it’s not possible.

He’ll come in the door.

56 years.

She waits.

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