The VOLUNTEER

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
TOUCHED BY ANOTHER'S DEATH

Submitted: December 10, 2007

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Submitted: December 10, 2007

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The VOLUNTEER

 

This is her third

admission;

her final one

she knows –

but too long-suffering,

too pleasant

to make a fuss about it.

Accepting.

At peace.

 

I sit and hold her hand,

feeling privileged to

be allowed inside

the envelop of her

personhood,

inside the envelop of her pain

and disappointments.

I don’t know her

except within this

terminal environment.

But we both know that

her disease is not

the definition of her life.

But of her hopes, hobbies,

accomplishments and

regrets I

know nothing;

until she reveals them

jewel by jewel,

tear by tear,

smile by smile

as we talk in her

diminishing

lucid moments.

 

Younger than I by

over a decade,

it hurts to watch

her ebb away,

to diminish.

To know that the cancer

eats away at her personality

moment by moment,

that she will not be tomorrow

who she was today.

 

Someone she loved once,

and he shot through

out of immaturity and fear.

Fool to be pitied,

and forgiven –

He should be here holding her hand,

and not a stranger.

He should be here

experiencing the infinitude of loss.

But this man,

this stranger

is all she has,

it will have to be enough

for her dying.

 

I slip silently into

her room while she sleeps,

stand and pray,

watching.

I know that death

shall have no

dominion,

for our dying is not

the end of life,

only the transition.

She knows too,

but not in all

faith’s fullness,

and that saddens me,

yet I may not transgress

her choice.

 

I stand mute

as her daughters-in-law

comfort her -

speak to her -

caress her.

Sons, stolid,

supportive,

grave and sensitive

to every nuisance

of broken breathing.

I feel privileged to

be allowed inside

the envelop of her

family dynamic,

inside the envelop of

her leave-taking.

And we six know that

her enduring relationships

are the definition of her life.

How often have I measured

a patient’s character by

the nexus of love

family and friends weave

around them.

This is a person I regret

not having know in the

bloom of their life.

 

How deep the humbling

when they come back

the next day and

and say a simple

‘Thank you’.

What have I done?

I only sat and held her hand,

and prayed.

And she?

 

She added to my

Life.

 

 

 

by James Gagiikwe © 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 James Gagiikwe. All rights reserved.

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