While My Father Was Dying, He Wore My Hat

by Frank Candeloro

On his weekly trips to the hospital for his treatment, his cancer treatment, his chemotherapy, my father wore my hat. He asked me if he could wear my hat because he liked it, because he didn’t have one as nice, because he’d always wanted a hat like that but had never had the money, or had spent the money on other things, like food for me, or clothes for me, or gas to drive me to school or my friend’s house, or my post-secondary education, many things, but not a hat like that, a hat he had always liked, for himself. He wore the hat because he didn’t want to be recognized by people he knew looking as he did, pale and sweaty and thin, gaunt even, pushed in a wheelchair, nauseous, and my hat had a large brim. I said yes, of course, of course you can wear my hat. I still have it. I wear it when I cut the lawn and work in the garden pulling weeds. Last time my mother visited, she said, Oh, you have your father’s hat. Yes, I said, I have my father’s hat.

Frank Candeloro has published fiction and poetry in journals such as Rascal and The Danforth Review. He’s a teacher who lives in Ontario with his wife and two children.

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