Wednesday, May 24, 2023


A Good Death

The old lady seemed surprisingly stable the next morning

Given her age, the physiologic insult 

And what I had to do to her. 

She smiled wanly and reached

Out a soft alabaster hand 

Not to reassure me so much

As making sure I was real

That her rapidly spiraling demise

What not just a dream

I saw: it’s not your fault, you did the best you could

In her eyes but probably 

Her eyes were just being nice 

Then she closed them and drifted off into 

A dream where I was an old man, on my deathbed

Surrounded by everyone I loved and those who loved me 

(A Venn diagram approximating a near perfect circle, I hope)

And some were telling old stories

While others were saying goodbye

A few leaned in close

And whispered things only

The two of us could ever know 

Things got fuzzier and fuzzier

And then quiet and more far away 

And then there was a soft blurred lightness 

Suffusing through the named and I was floating in the midst

Of a bright white cloud

Shining with all the darkness 

I had once stumbled through 

And I was surrounded by a deep silence that had been 

Hiding in the cacophony of this life all along 

Soon I was the cloud itself, then myself again,

A brief flicker of recognition just before 

I lost all the words to describe it 

Only the cloud could say anything else

It gathered strength and grew dark

Then it rained down hard upon the land 

For many weeks, all day and all night 

Until one morning the sun burned through 

And the infinite sky was once again an unblemished blue

And all the clouds were gone 

And in the old lady’s dream

I had died peacefully in my sleep

And this was her way of conveying

Both forgiveness and gratitude 

For all I had done to help

On the night she died in her sleep


1 comment:

Thera said...

Beautifully written reflection