When Daddy Dies

June 30, 2002

I found this poem in the front of one of Phil's notebooks in his bedside drawer. He wrote it on April 29, 2001 in Minneapolis, two days after he found out that his cancer had spread.

I can only imagine that he wrote this "in the moment" on a Sunday morning while waiting for the kids and I to arrive from New York. He was so focused on beating his cancer that he may have either forgotten that he wrote this or he simply trusted that I would find it when the time was right.

Phil wrote this for our three children, but I have decided to share this with all of you because it is, like the rest of his journal, an incredibly beautiful piece of writing. It tells all of us all we need to know in order to go on without him.

When Daddy Dies

When Daddy dies you may cry

But remember to look for the birds that fly

And the clouds passing by

And the sun in the sky

I'll be there for you


When Daddy dies you may feel mad

But remember the fun we had

When the weather was bad

And the clowns were sad

I'll be laughing with you


When Daddy dies you may feel lonely

But if you listen hard

You'll hear me say, "I'm here for you only,"

You can always talk to me


When Daddy dies you my think life isn't fair

That God doesn't care

Or it's too much to bear

But in the darkness

Light a candle and I'll glow for you


When you fall, get up

Feel me lift you

When you triumph, look up

Feel me cheer for you

When you drink, say cheers

Let me share with you


Live with joy

Love with all your heart

Find good friends

Do good work


Be proud of yourself, as I am of you

You are in me as I am in you

Nothing can ever change that


Philip Toshio Sudo

April 29, 2001