Tag: grief

What’s Left Over

Ruth Bavetta ~

One and a half tubes of smörgåskaviar, most
of a jar of blueberry jam, a full jar of lingonberries.
Four sets of blue plaid pajamas–God forbid
I should have gotten him red. Six pairs
of reading glasses, going back
in five-year increments. Hearing-aid
batteries stashed by the lamp.
Three packages of adult diapers.
Our marriage certificate.
The rest of the

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A Tingling Sensation

Mitch Kaminski ~

It had been a hectic day in the urgent-care clinic of my large family practice, and I was starting to worry about the time: My last two patients had put me thirty minutes behind.

I felt relieved when I saw the note for the next patient: “Seventy-four-year-old female with UTI.”

A urinary-tract infection! This should be quick and uncomplicated….

I walked into the room to find a well-dressed older

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Riven

Martha Carlough ~

In medical school
I learned the particular sensitivity
of the breastbone

The rub of a knuckle
awakens even one deeply asleep
beckoning back to the present moment

Grief has the potential
to show us how cramped–
even deadened–we’ve become

Chest riven with pain
my fingers are now free
to explore the stories

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The Morning After You Died

Dianne Avey ~

So this is what it feels like
to be on the other side.
Hollowed out exhaustion,
rimmed with the chaotic clutter
of struggle and hope.
Like the beach after a tsunami,
all those once-important items,
now floating around uselessly.

I don’t know how to start this life
again.

This morning, they came
and took the bed away.

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Fear No Evil

Scott Janssen ~

“You need to get here now!” The nurse whispers anxiously. It’s after midnight. One of our hospice patients has just died at home, and her husband is threatening to shoot himself when the funeral home shows up.

“Has the funeral home been called?” I ask.

“No.”

“Does he have a gun or weapon?”

“We’re out in the country. There are deer heads on the wall.”

I

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Epilogue

Sara Bybee ~

It’s 2:02 pm when my pager beeps. I pull it out and read: “Juan may have just passed. Going in now.”

As a social worker in the region’s only cancer specialty hospital, I provide emotional support for patients and their families–including talking about their wishes for end-of-life care.

Juan is a sixty-five-year-old Ecuadorian man with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I’ve known him for about a year. Polite and easy

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Wednesday’s Child

Cortney Davis

It was a Wednesday in late spring, 1972. I was a nursing student in my final months of training, eagerly awaiting graduation.

When I arrived on the maternity ward that morning, my nursing instructor told me that I’d be caring for a baby, only hours old, with special needs.

I thought she’d send me to the neonatal ICU. Instead, to my surprise, she motioned toward the linen closet, its doors

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