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Tag: coping with death

Imperfect Farewells

Judy Schaefer

I was not with my mother when she died, her heart bursting
against her ribs, screaming for a violent release from her chest
I listened, ear to phone:           nothing-more-could-be-done
          I recall her now, prayer petals of morning’s first red rose, the perfect
          Mezzo-soprano of a summer evening’s lullaby, an open window to song
Clinical colleagues

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She Who Shows Up

Dianne Avey

She who shows up
to guide tiny fingers
toward ripening blackberries
and the spiral
of a moonsnail shell

Late summer treasures

She who shows up
with tea and bread
all the time in the world
to walk hand in small hand

My son beautifully distracted

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Last Rites

Candice Carnes

In 2002, I was living in Albuquerque and working as a nursing assistant. My staffing agency had assigned me to a medical surgical floor at a hospital in Santa Fe, a fifty-minute drive away.

One day, as I was enjoying the high-desert beauty en route to the hospital, a code was called.

The patient’s name was Sam, as I recall. It could have been anything, but Sam is the name that echoes in

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Saving Grampa

Alia Moore

You were supposed to die of cardiac arrest as you circled toward home plate. Or of a brain aneurysm in the summer during one of your countless hikes through the mountains.

You weren’t supposed to die here. Not in a hospital bed, inhabiting this fragile new body, with an oxygen tube in your nose and tumors in your lungs.

Two days before you left us, I traveled home to visit you. I’d last

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All in a Night’s Work

Isaac Song

I was a college freshman, just starting out as a rookie EMT with the local rescue squad. In the squad building, located near a strip mall in our suburban New Jersey town, my fellow volunteers and I joined the staff supervisors to spend days or nights on call.

On a rescue squad, I quickly learned, patience is key. If you visited the building, you’d see seasoned EMTs lounging around as if they had

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Tears Should Be Surprising

Wynne Morrison 

Tears should be surprising.

He is, after all, well over six feet tall,
must top 250 pounds,
always quick and confident
with a joke upon his lips.

Most of his patients weigh a pound or two.
Eyes fused shut, translucent skin,
with lives of needles, tubes,
machines and probing hands.
On this week there are too many
who will never have a chance.

Chocolate, silence, and he hauls
himself up from

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Lost and Found

Julie Evans

When Mom died of alcohol poisoning on her sixtieth birthday, I was seventeen and then I didn’t have a mom anymore. 

My heart was crushed, but there was no time to grieve, because my dad was dying. A man in his late fifties, he’d battled emphysema, a brain aneurysm, colon cancer and then bone-marrow cancer. 

Over the

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Cracking the Code

Zohar Lederman

I am a medical student in Pavia, Italy, doing my fifth year out of six. It is summertime, and, as I’ve done every summer for years, I’ve returned to my small hometown in the south of Israel. There, among other things, I volunteer as an emergency medical technician (EMT) with Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross. 

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Please For Tonight

Andrea Wendling

Please for tonight
Just be my wife
She is my life, my center,
She is what makes me whole
And I am finding I cannot exist
Without her

Smell like her
Like hayfields after a day of hard work
lavender and milk baths
Warm breezes blowing through still forests
All of this mixed with the soap
That we shared
That now too slowly disappears

Touch me like she would
Like I belonged to

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The Whole Story

Veneta Masson

After she died
there was talk of war
the stock market crashed
the cat didn’t eat for three days
her youngest came home from school in tears
her husband grew a beard.

I do not lie when I tell you these things
nor do I tell the whole story.

I do not say that her funeral day dawned bright
and unrepentant

or that all the sunflowers in the city
were gathered at her

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First Visit

Allan Peterkin

He told me
in passing
somewhere in the list
of bad luck and
bad choices
all the things
that had somehow
brought him here

This telling
was so soft
as to be dream-like
she had 
off a ride
at the county fair
on a day he 
was trying to be her dad
Didn’t make it 

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Stephenie McKinnon

He came to us leukemic listened carefully said his prayers took his meds showed us his
pictures: wife two kids dog cat baby’s first birthday talked about basketball and God and
anxiety and what it feels like to be hairless and a good patient
He came to us leukemic followed directions read his scriptures took his meds

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