Poem – Those Who Go, Those Who Stay

By Jim Dineen

Those who stay those who go -poem by Jim Dineen

Those who stay those who go pic-2 - Jim Dineen - Shari Lacy


I wrote this poem in 1990 when someone asked me about my experiences during the Vietnam War. My daughter Shari then painted a picture for me using my poem as her inspiration. It has the same title and depicts a Vietnam veteran kneeling at “The Wall” memorial in Washington, D.C.

Though originally written with a specific subject in mind, these words also ring true for everyone, and especially for those of us with kidney disease.


If time were a day, or a week, or a year,
and friends were the fluid that creates a tear;
Then life for me continues a dream . . .
Bear with me a moment, here’s what I mean.

I’ve lost a few throughout my life,
Some ’cause natural, others ’cause strife;
And through it all some things remain . . .
Life’s really not cruel, it just has some pain.

When we rise each morning, sun shining or not,
Don’t think of who’s gone, but think of who’s not;
And give them respect and warmth and love
to get through their day on the wings of a dove,
Or maybe an eagle, an osprey’s wing . . .
Give them something to make their hearts sing.

You see, our friends, through life’s perils and strains,
are always ours, regardless of pain;
Always seeing the good, forgetting the bad,
that each of us shows whether happy or sad;
Whether times are good or sometimes hard,
they’re there for us, they’ll deal the card
That’s best for us when we’re in need . . .
No questions asked, simply planting the seed.

The end of this piece is nowhere to be found,
’cause just like our lives, it flows ’round and ’round;
New friends will come, and old ones will go,
But the ones we know best continue to show
The need for our presence, the need for our trust . . .
Look around you, my friends, those folks are us.


About the Author
Jim Dineen was diagnosed with kidney failure in 1998. After three years on dialysis, he received a kidney in November 2003 from Joyce, his wife of more than 40 years. In June 2004, their story was featured in Reader’s Digest. It focused on how kidney disease dramatically affected their family and brought them closer together. Jim educates fellow patients on how best to live with kidney disease.

Jim’s Daughter Shari Lacy is an accomplished artist whose work has been featured in national publications, home decor retailers and specialty boutiques. View more of Shari’s artwork at ShariLacy.com

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