Dear Grandpa: Remembering Vernon Wright (June 7, 1926-May 31, 2015)


Dear Grandpa,

I can imagine you walking along the distant edge of the barren hills while whistling a tune and watching the wind roll across the plain, and tumbleweeds bump along the desert floor.

And you wouldn't be carrying one single thing, nothing weighing you down.

Not the guns. Not the bullets. Not the blood. Not the war.

I'm here writing to you now, Grandpa. I'm here walking along the dirt trails and searching for comfort in your absence, searching for peace in these miles and miles of emptiness. You liked the desert. It was something we had in common. When I come here, my first inclination is to pray. Nothing impairs your vision and God is easily conceived in the long stretches of  sky.

I'm here writing to you, Grandpa, now that you're gone, hoping to catch a glimpse of your shadow on the horizon as the sun settles, hoping that in your passing there is silence and lasting peace.

Dear Grandpa, thank you for telling me about the things you carried from 1944 to 1946 and how you could never lay your burdens down. Because of you, I'll rage forever and demand to live in a world where no boy or girl must bear it all again.

But I hope your heart is quiet now. Somewhere in this vast ocean of sagebrush, I hope you've laid it all down and your mind is still and at ease.

I sit on a rock and watch the clouds roll in. Tiny drops of rain dot my jacket. I take a deep breath in and scan the landscape, feeling only calm when I can't make out your small stature or messy silvered hair. I hear the sky rumble and crack and I stand to stretch my legs and walk, to begin again.

Have fun up there, old man.

Love, Pamela


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

("Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas)