Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I came here expecting to write something about giving thanks, but my mind is swirling around my recent time working in a long term care facility, the talk my fellow students and I had with a hospice nurse today, and this poem;

"I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone."

"Gone where?"

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says "There, she is gone," there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout "Here she comes!"

And that is dying."
 --Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933)

I am grateful for all of it: my time at this facility ( as difficult as it may seem right now), conversations with those who are the guides on the journey of letting go, this poem that depicts death more beautifully than I ever could, and for so much more.  I am thankful for this life.   Every last second of it. 




Unknown said...

All so true. I did all manner of eldercare in my medical carreer as a CNA.

I've sat by the side of many people as they died.

These experiences gave me tremendous perspective on the truth of living to old age and what that may or may not mean for me as I get older.

aola said...

stories of dying fascinate me and always have - my Mom by choice or just by circumstance was a doula, sitting with many, many family members as the passed. She told me stories of their last moments, waking up and speaking words of wisdom, eyes wide seeing something only they could see, becoming lucid just long enough to say good-bye. It gives me hope for what is to come.

Cara I would love to hear some of your stories.

Sandra- this is a beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful, strangely comforting. I love ya.....

Sandra said...

Thank you all of your comments.

A, It's interesting to me that many people exhibit the same signs when they are close to death.

This poem to me, is so beautiful and exactly what I want to be true about death.

Kristen said...