In my profession as a Hospice Chaplain I am often sitting with families by the bedside of their loved one as they wait for death to come, the final note to play. This poem was inspired by one such instance and it impressed on me again the sacredness and gift of being part of these passings.




I watched with you

as the minutes went by.

You rubbed her head,

I patted her hand.

You talked of her life

of early toil in the

Black Hills of Kentucky.

Of how she escaped

to the city and met your dad

building a life of hearth and love.

A seemingly unremarkable life

until you considered

its steadiness , its fruit.

A marriage that lasted long

till death did part,

children and grandchildren

steady and successful.

And as we talked you realized

what a treasured life

you would have to eulogize.

With tears in your eyes

you leaned in to kiss her cheek.

So we talked about our families,

our life experiences,

and always we watched her;

noting her breathing,

stroking and patting,

sometimes including her

in the conversation.

Life witnessing death

slowly taking over,

telling her it was alright,

speaking words of love and release.

I sang her a song,

kissed her forehead,

said goodbye leaving her in

your keeping and God’s.

Diantha Zschoche 8/14