Accepting Death

I spend days with the old

Taking care of them,


                                    Washing there withered frames

                                                Listening to their stories

                                                            Wondering who they were before they came to this place

It’s strange, how for this time our lives intersect

Our society disregards the old, prizing those for there youth

            Those who fall into that snare are being delusional

For the old hold the keys to making a better future

One lady I knew and took care of

             Lived over a century

I knew her for her last six months

            A small frame of time in the spectrum of her life

She slowly lost strength

Made the expected turn for the worst

But I was sent reeling

            No my mind screams this is not supposed to happen not yet

She is so kind, so beautiful in all her wrinkles, so loved by all

Those around me more experienced with death

                                    Assured me that it was ok

I balked, my hands shaking as I help her to the toilet

            Me holding her delicate, 86 pound frame

                                    Because she has lost all strength

I help her back to bed,

            Hold her hand as she drifts in and out

                        From our world to the next

Her family comes, I stand outside the room

Feeling the love the permeates from her room

            Rivers stream down my face, I feel the love too

                                    Love for her

                                    Love for the place she will go

The shift ends

            I look in at her small frame, a shadow of a woman under a blanket

I leave the nursing home.

                        I know in my gut that when I return that precious woman will be gone

I work at a place where everyone knows that they will probably meet death there

So why could I not come to terms with it?

Why was death so surreal to me until this moment

            Until this time when I saw death face to face

                        I watch as it ebbed nearer…

Sunday, two days later,

            I stand in church

The pastor makes the announcement,

            The words come from his mouth I am not surprised but that doesn’t lessen the shock

My soul knows that she is at peace, but I still hurt deep inside

The pastor says that she had seen glimpses of heaven in her last days

                        I think back to her whispered words as I held her hand near the end

I should have listened closer,

should have bent my head near to her as she caught glimpses

            of the place all of us long to go when we reach the end.

She was the first of my patients to go,

                        I will never forget her

                                    And I relish the idea that someday I will see her again






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