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I Heard Your Crying

When all the drugs
And medical equipment
In the world
Cannot save a life
And the battle
So valiantly fought
Is almost lost
When all the treatments
And medications
Have become an absurdity
Of medical desperation
It’s time to wave the flag
Of surrender
Because once the dying
Has begun
There’s no turning back
And all that remains of life
Is a cascade
Of ever worsening
Multi-organ failure
And the escalation
Of pain and suffering
Medical science
Just delaying the inevitable
Though we all hope
For a miracle
To end the grief
And I had watched you
Helpless
To fix that sadness
As you lay before me crying
And I became a silent witness
To your despair, feeling
Your inconsolable loneliness
Something none of us
Could fix
And when I recognized
The tears of the dying
In your eyes
I reached out for your hand
No longer suppressing
My own tears
And we began to talk
In earnest
About your death
That painful conversation
Taking precedence
Over anything
And everything else
I’d been doing for you
Ending the small-talk
And trivial dialogue
About the weather
The words of denial
Seeming disrespectful now
Too contrived and awkward
On that morning, anyway
Because once you’d decided
You’d had enough
I knew it was time
To help you plan
The minutiae of your dying
To gather your family
At your bedside
For a meeting and a prayer
And to start switching off
The life-saving machinery
Its failure, a vulgarity
At the very end of life
When all we can really do
Is ensure a peaceful
And painless goodbye
Comforting you
And your family
As you enter your final rest
With your loved ones
Expressing their grief
In one last embrace
Their tearful reverence
So fitting
In the sacred last moments
That ended your precious life