Mom died of pancreatic cancer and there was nothing any of us could do about it. We could sit in the hospital room and hold her hand. We took shifts to make sure she was never alone.

I kept rods and a fly bag in the trunk of my car. My shift would end and I’d drive to water.

I wrote part of the eulogy I’d give at my mother’s funeral in my head while fly fishing.

We have a family friend with a farm pond. My brother and I went there to not think about anything but poppers and surface takes and jumps.

I sorted things out on the water. I’m here because of a river; my mother’s great aunt rented waterfront property from my father’s great grandfather. My parents met there at age two.

I couldn’t sleep so I bought beer at a gas station and fly fished for bass under a bridge. I caught one and slipped on the bank and stepped on my fly rod and didn’t care.

For all the hours spent arguing and searching to define and redefine it,  fly fishing is really only what you need it to be.

16 thoughts on “Elegy”

  1. sorry to hear this. doesn’t make things any better, but i guess that having the right lens gives one a better perspective. probably wouldn’t come as a surprise to readers here that fishing can help provide that lens and you can express it with clarity.

  2. Hang in there Pete. I just lost my father-in-law to brain cancer. We were very close and I’ve spent quite a bit of water-time as well since his passing.

    My prayers to you and your family.


  3. Pete

    I’ve been where you are. All I can say is that Mom will remain with you. She’ll be over your shoulder, chiding you to straighten your tie as you dress for an event, to add more salt to the stew, or to visit your relatives. You’ll see the sun break over the water any given morning and think of her. Your child will embody the best of her, and you’ll hear her echoed in your own voice. Its the cycle, man.

    Lets go fishing.


  4. Pete, Alana and I send our condolences and wish your family the best. We can humbly thank your Mom for giving you such a talent with the pen and a million other things unnamed. You’re in our thoughts man.


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