I rarely write poetry. During unusual, trying, and intense circumstances I sometimes find myself spontaneously writing a poem. The following came tumbling out all at once at the end of my father’s hospital stay in March of 2013:

The cool air of the ICU.
The warmth of my father’s skin.
The sound of my father’s breath.
The sun warm on his body.

My mother’s hand runs through his hair.
My sister’s hand holds his.
My daughter’s head at his side.
My husband sleeps at his feet.

Dad rests peacefully.

We hold vigil.
Never thinking this day would come.
Never thinking the words
“Kindness, Respect and, Dignity”
Would mean so much
When we had so little
To hang onto
And so much we might
Reproach ourselves for.

“The illness guides his course,
Not you.” Bridget tells us.

So we, with our intellect
And fragile hearts,
Choose what we know
Dad would want,
And make him comfortable.

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