Sunday, July 17, 2011

And Life Goes On

I stopped by her room
and saw nothing different,
other than labored breath, and stiff body.
The doctor was on the phone,
ordering some meds.
Aides were going about
their usual after dinner routine.
Betty's roommate got swiftly changed
and put to bed.
The dimming light signaled another day,
ready to end.

I went home to have dinner with my friend.
We ate and talked and laughed.
One last check into work mail,
and I learned the news that Betty had passed.

The next day I stopped by her room,
and found no sign left of her,
other than two family pictures,
and her hospital bed, stripped of the old sheets,
and not yet remade.
A new family came to check available rooms.
Shared rooms.
They peeked in, and liked what they saw.
"It's so bright. Our mother would do well here."


  1. Our impermanence revealed once more. There is a sadness about dying alone yet there is no other way, even when others are present. I received the gift of overcoming a fear of death from my father at his dying. He awoke from a coma, looked squarely at me, squeezed my hand, and left. That was the seed of my hospice involvement to be when it arrived a few years later. You have a gift of awareness for your dying friends and the times you share are so encouraging Marguerite.

  2. It is a strange sensation indeed.

  3. JDB, yes, contemplating the physical reality of death is a powerful practice. Hence, the gift of hospice work. You and I are both very fortunate that way.

  4. Natalie, interesting you use the word 'strange'. Makes me think how estranged we are from what is. Most of our life activities are distracting us from seeing the essentially impermanent nature of this life.

  5. Yes, that is exactly what I meant. We cling on to things so tightly, that we often forget to see the beauty of every experience. :)