The Gregorian Institute Shield, composed of the crossed gold and silver keys of the Papal Insignia, an open book with the words 'Via Veritas Vita' ('The Way, the Truth, and the Life') written on its pages, three golden six-sided stars on a red banner, and a Germanic cross.

at BENEDICTINE COLLEGE

Room 707: The Last Time I Saw My Father

In advance of Fathers Day, a poem by Benedictine College Great Books professor, Dr. Edward Mulholland. This poem was written shortly before his father, Henry Mulholland, a longtime resident of Garden City, N.Y., died in Stuart, Florida, on June 7, 2017, at the age of 78. Henry was a devoted father to his five children and grandfather to 27.

Room 707

In a wheelchair in the hallway
Amid nurses in purple scrubs
His lilting Irish song snippets
Greeted passersby. His blanket,

N.Y. Giant fleece in Florida heat,
Was curled on legs now thin as arms
Which once stood strong at six-foot-two
But not since March. And it was May.

He thought the spoonfuls of turkey
I fed him in baby pieces
Were hilarious, but then he
Was full after three. Halting words,

Heaved in shrapnel shards, detritus from
Shattered memory mosaics,
Their only sense grammatical,
Replied that he was doing fine.

He craned his neck to call Aunt Peg,
Long dead, there on the small sofa.
And as always, more than ever,
My welled up eager beggar’s eyes

Sought Dad’s look of recognition.

This poem originally appeared at Aleteia.

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Edward Mulholland

Edward Mulholland Ph.D. is assistant professor of classical and modern languages at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, and an master’s degree in classics from the University of London. He has been involved in Catholic education via seminary, college and high school teaching for 25 years. He has taught in Italy, Spain, Mexico and the United States. He and his wife Valerie have six children.