Discussion Forums

An open letter to the dying 
Started by Wingman
15 Oct 2019, 4:05 PM

An open letter to the dying 
Do you know?
While your body is immobolized by drugs and pain and fatigue does your mind remain aware?
When your hands move and your arms extend are these intentional actions or do you act involuntarily. Are you reaching out or pushing away.
While the nurse says you are resting does the rattle in your throat indicate peace of sleep or is it more accurately your struggle to inhale.
Would you prefer solitude and privacy or does your heart break just a little bit more every time I leave the room.
Do you hear my voice? 
Is there value, for you, when I speak my truths only after you have lost the ability?
Do the things we do bring you comfort? Does it help to be clean, to have music, to have me by your bedside while you struggle, or are these the things that simply bring us comfort. Is *this my compassion?
If you were other than human you would have been set to eternal sleep many many days ago. Do you need this time to surrender.... do I?
Is *this my humanity? 
Do you know?
I sense, I feel that you are trying to communicate, so tell me,
tell me now, do you fight to live or do you fight to die.
Report this post      
28 Mar 2020, 7:44 PM

Dear Wingman
How lovely for me to see your name! I know it's been a few months since you posted this - and I want to talk more about your poem.  But to let you know that if you are still taking part in the forum I am returning (at least for a time) as discussion forum moderator. It meant a lot to see your name.

And your poem - thank you. You have always been able to give words to your grief and thoughts on this forum. Thank you for the gift that you share. 

How are you? 
Katherine N (changed name from KathCull) 
Report this post      
Reply by Wingman
30 Mar 2020, 12:37 AM

Good Evening Katherine,
I knew exactly who you were- greetings. I'm glad to see you back if temporary at best. Your guidance throughout this forum was formidable to me when I first started navigating and that you can offer that to others in any compacity is invaluable. I know your perspectives have changed since I first *met you but what you have to offer is steadfast.
I wrote this letter in a different circumstance- an elderly woman had befriended me at work and as she fell ill none of her family stepped up and so there I was, again navigating the process of leaving and of loss. There was not even an obituary for her and I felt a need to acknowledge, address and abide by a life that mattered.
Godspeed Mrs. M- here I have left a stamp of your life 

The road we're on sure seems to have sharper turns and bigger hills, so thank you Katherine for being an integral part of the path we share.
Thoughts and strength,
Report this post      
Reply by eKIM
26 Jun 2020, 12:27 AM

Hi Wingman.  Love your handle.  Angels have wings.  A wingman is one’s most faithful companion.

I love your poem.  It is fragrant with deep thought – truly heartfelt.  What was the inspiration?  

By the way, it’s eKim. Years ago I used to post on this site to help those who were hurting.  I have just returned to this site after a long absence.  I’ve spent the last 10 years volunteering at our local residential hospice as a resident and family support volunteer in the psychosocial/spiritual field.  Now – thanks to Covid 19 – volunteering is no more.

Your words resonate with me because I have similar thoughts with each and every encounter at hospice. 

When your words are applied to those who are unconscious and near death, it is a poem of great questions with no answers.  And even if the person regains consciousness and answers the questions, it is a mirage.  The next day their answers might be totally different.  And for sure, the answers will be different for each and every other person.

So, what to do?  Intuition? Devine guidance?  How about simply “One’s best, with an open heart and love.”  I love the quote, “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough.”

How is everything in your life, Wingman.  Share if you care to.  Isn’t it nice to have VirtualStranges at VirtualHospice, who care.

- eKim

Ps  I too wrote a poem.  It was inspired by my hospice volunteer work.  So in that way, we are kindred spirits, Wingman.

Report this post      
Reply by Wingman
26 Jun 2020, 1:09 AM

Hi eKim,I recall your name from earlier years. I wrote this poem as validation of a woman's life. While not family to this woman I was her *go to person in the last years of her life. Her family denied her an obituary even so I wrote this to as a response to acknowledge her existence. I sat by her bedside daily for  several long weeks and this letter is a result of that.

Thanks eKim
Report this post      
17 Jul 2020, 1:36 AM

Hello Wingman and eKIM, 
A new member started the thread Wishing for the end - what a horrible thought  this afternoon. Could I ask you both to consider responding to her post? As she said she is, "struggling with the here & now, along with the what's next."

As always by invitation not expectation.

Hope you are both well.
Report this post      

Our Partners
Asked and Answered
Asked and Answered

Find out what Canadians
are asking

Ask a Professional
Ask a Professional

Our team of experts answers
your questions about
life-threatening illness and loss.

Just want to talk?
Just want to talk?

Join the Discussion

Books, Links, and More
Books, Links, and More

Recommended by our team

Programs and Services
Programs and Services

Find local, regional,
and national services