(Poem – originally published 26th November 2019 on another blog)
We care for people at all stages of their life. Through and after death as well. This poem was written after I reflected on the care of a man who had died in the morning and as we prepared his body that afternoon for that stage of his journey.
Heavy with the weight of those treasured memories,
Finding their path into the safe places we guard with care.
A weight we bear, not with resentment, but with honour as we prepare for the moments ahead.
The room cool – the window ajar.
Warm water fills the bowl.
Death will not dilute our compassion.
Things must be just right.
A voice. We talk to you. I take your hand, and gently wash that palm that not so long ago held others. We wash. We dry. Towels carefully placed as they had been for the washes that came before. Dignity. Preserved.
I brush your hair. No, that’s not quite right. There, that’s it.
Time to go. Deferred for us.
Curtains drawn, doors closed as you pass through. The busy pause, briefly. Heads bow. The memories must stay, for now, where they have found to rest. Gone from us, but not forgotten.