17 years ago today my dad stared down a Mac truck on his last breath. The car behind him said he waved at the rising sun just seconds before he swirved across the center line. The autopsy said he was intoxicated. His cardiac partners said he was overworked and tired from sewing up hearts all day and night. Nurses from that evening’s party said he impersonated a great Willie Nelson and lost track of time. A friend offering to drive him home said my dad proclaimed ‘i am my own man’ and took back his keys. Mom said that the county he died in, Fredonia, means ‘free the woman’ and it was his last gift to her. The Chief of Police said they would investigate a possible homicide because of the note from my mom they found in the car saying ‘I’M PISSED.’ The crows watching from powerlines above said a silvery soul slipped effortlessly from the wrecked car. The jaws of life said all 6 foot 6 of his flesh, though bloodied and torn, still poured with majesty. His steering wheel said that the chest cavity it crushed was a true, one-of-a-kind, radiant beauty. The heart that stopped beating 17 years ago said it’s massive capacity for love was only just beginning. His daughter said, ‘i know.’