Anesthesiology:
doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31829dd286
Education: Mind to Mind

Grief

McGoldrick, Kathryn E. M.D.

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It is not easy to be
the one who remains, who remembers.
Like the pain of a missing limb,
a seeker without a lodestar
smells despair rooted in the
rebarbative mold of death.
Emptiness envelops;
entropy rules and
inanitiation prevails. Moving
becomes a series of staying
in place. Brownian motion
accomplishes nothing.
Well-intentioned gestures grate;
the touch of a friend
abrades the flesh.
Breathing becomes a task;
the feldspar
and quartz of grief
hinder breath.
Mourning is unbecoming,
an indulgence.
Take a page from Yeats’s
grave, casting “a cold eye
on life, on death…..
Traveler, pass by.”
How to reassemble life
from salvaged parts of
immortal dreams?
The scent of hope swirls
in the metamorphosis of time
to smooth the jagged contours.
No tectonic shifts reverberate.
Tincture of time and liminal events
chisel apertures of light
through the dark chasm.
While what was lost
is ever present,
we can transcend, maybe conquer,
the existential pain. A stream
of strength forging the way,
animation returns.
Eventually.

© 2014 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.

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