Living into Death

If we have been the caregiver of a loved one, watched another in that role or found ourselves in the throws of grief, we know all too well that life does not pause to allow us the time to do the abundant tasks of caring and grieving. Life marches on and at times that might be a benefit as we are pulled out of our deep inner pain to join in with the children or animals who need attention. At other times, it might give us comic relief needed to bear the weight of the day. This poem was inspired by the end quote, the first words spoken by one of our Hospice nurses as she began to report in team on one of her patients.

The Last Words

A window view from the bed

where Joe lies

waiting for his last breath.

The angel promising,

arriving to guide him home.

 

Sap green, cerulean blue,

a burst of red on the tree

bearing fruit to be canned

and made into pies.

 

Dorothy attending

the daily tasks of the spouse,

the work of the living:

Food, water, leaky faucet,

broken garage door.

 

All intruding

on this precious time left

for the next breath.

 

The soft hollows of cheeks,

the diming of eyes,

the whispering breath

as Joe’s lips part

speaking his goodbye

to the life he has known

on this, his farm.

 

They lean in

waiting for the words,

forming —a sigh—

“The pigs are digging

up the yard, again.”

c) Janis Dehler

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