She woke between pained breaths and said,
“they’ve all
crossed over.”

So, after soothing her shock
of white bang back,
we hurried to measure
the morphine,
pretty sure she would not try to get up
like she did the day before, anxious
to meet them,
but not certain,

“sweetheart,” saying, as we nosed the syringe into
the inside of the downward-tilted
cheek, then smoothed squeezed balm
over desert lips, “sweetheart,”
caressing back
that shock of hair again

until I lay down beside her at last
to listen to the full
and hollow,
not breathing myself
in some of the pauses.

So a good death goes,
and comes,
oh sweetheart.


Poem for my mother. 

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11 Comments on “Grateful”

  1. Oh sweetheart. It sounds like she was ready to cross over. This was so tenderly written 💕

  2. Sherry Says:

    Oh Karin, how tender, how loving……a good death, oh sweetheart. So beautiful. It grabs the heart. Did this loss just happen? You will miss her so much.

  3. So tender and beautiful. A death with dignity. I am so sorry.

  4. Kerry Says:

    Oh, this has me in floods of tears, Karin. Having suffered a small death recently and in no way equivalent to yours but for the laying down beside the beloved and watching life leave… Oh, to have the power to put that into words, when I have no breath.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thank you, Kerry. There was so much that was very joyful about my mom’s death that I haven’t even tried to deal with in writing, but this is what came to mind–thanks for you very kind words. I am so sorry about the death you went through recently–I think it was your dog–honestly, it’s incredible how the loss of an animal hurts–and no, it’s not the same as a human, it’s different, but it is so heartfelt. Thanks much. k.

  5. scribblersdip Says:

    So gently and tenderly written – a fitting and soulful engagement during a difficult moment and time, yet so sensitively handled.

  6. This really talked to me… to have that option sounds so lovely and bittersweet…. My mother has reached the stage where she doesn’t know me any longer, so she left a long time ago… slipped away without us noticing the moment. Being a ghost really… loved your poem about departures…. I might write something similar..

  7. This touches my heart. I remember standing by my mother’s bed when she was dying. I whispered, “You can go.” In the end she left quietly to reach the other side where memories are never taken by disease.

  8. Brendan Says:

    The moment here as I read it was still on the bridge, where there is surrender–“they’ve all crossed over”–except for the last one, the last farewell. Not yet, or maybe gone but not yet? Hovering in a few last dear moments. Hard stuff to write and precisely, tenderly done. All your gifts are called for in such moments. (BTW, the other day my father-in-law walked into his wife’s bedroom and asked, lost in his dementia, when are we going home?)

  9. M Says:

    much love, Karin ~

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