I have seen this poem several times in the Hospice and Palliative Care world and thought the poem shared the essence of why we do what we do. Enjoy!
Why Do You Care for the Dying?
Why do you want to care for the dying? She asked me.
Sometimes, the dying seem more alive than the living. I told her.
Sometimes their eyes meet mine with questions
that remind me to return to the sea
and to get my feet sandy
and to laugh when the waves soak my shorts.
Sometimes their stories call me back to the gardens
and somehow draw my hands into the black warm soil
as my nose delights in the seemingly sweeter smelling scents
of pinks and reds and blues.
Sometimes their families remind me of mine,
and of friends I lost touch with
and how different is losing a friend due to distance and
missed addresses from losing a friend to death?
and of friends around me, who I then call and share a meal
with tastes so rich and wonderful.
Often, caring for the dying allows me to be more alive.
Suzana Makowski, MD