Now a lightness

4:57 am, Sunday

This week went
from caring with hope 
for a lucid patient to facing 
reality in advocating sanity 
to an insane extended 
family to haggling with specialists
to giving up time
and again telling Mary 
she was dying and then watching
her cling to her lost life like
everyone else to 
finally withdrawing all care
except for comfort 
and comforting the now lucid family 
while the breaths became 
distant
and the pauses

prolonged
and everyone 
cried, including myself, 
when 
the last one 
left. 

It was raining
when they called me. The family 
said it just started, right before 
the end. Like the sky had opened up

to let her in.

About the poet:

Fasih Hameed, a family physician in Santa Rosa, California, is currently completing a fellowship in integrative medicine for the underserved. After graduation he will continue to bring integrative medicine to community health centers in northern California. He has dabbled in the creative arts all his life and is currently focusing on music (guitar/vocals/percussion/composition), poetry and building wooden surfboards. In medical school he worked with the art group Students Against Right Brain Atrophy, and he still organizes and attends peaceful anti-atrophy rallies whenever possible. 

About the poem:

“I wrote this poem as a resident, after guiding a patient and her family through a long and difficult journey towards a peaceful death.”

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro

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