Back when my grandfather was young,
The father of two girls, four boys,
He got a pain in his back.
No big deal in the hubbub and noise
Of his Lutheran parish.
Weren’t there many suffering worse?
Didn’t he preside at funerals
And send folks away in a hearse?
He didn’t have time to even know
What the pain was, or even what
It would become, that it would grow.
But with years, the pain started to cut
And scrape his very nerves, it seemed.
So he paid a visit to his doc.
“Syringomyelia” he said,
After much looking through rare books.
“You will experience increasing
Pain for the rest of your life.
And I have a question, does your wife
Work? She’ll need to soon, to support
Your family. You’ll have to retire.”
“What?!” grandfather said, “I can’t do that.”
“This rare disease will conspire
Against every remaining day
And sooner than not, steal you away.”
“I’m so sorry” the doctor said.
“But in a few years you’ll be dead.”
Thirty years my grandfather said “NO!”
And my grandmother with him,
Til mercifully the lights dimmed
And Syringomyelia let go.