[The world of poetry is a means of expression and source of comfort for many who care for cancer patients. We welcome submissions from oncologists, oncology nurses, oncology pharmacists, and other cancer caregivers. E-mail only, please, to: OT@LWWNY.com, and include your affiliation/title, address, and phone number, along with a photo, if available.]
He has been taming us, this little stranger.
In his darkness, his suffering, he has been changing us.
Calling on us to be truly, deeply human
To share in his life as it ebbs away.
He is Every child, Every man.
He came from far away
Unable to see, or walk, or speak,
Hoping for a miracle to end his travail.
But it was not to be.
Not for lack of caring or skill.
Sometimes, tumor cells prevail
When caring or skill, cannot.
As I watch him gently sleep, I think of the life he had.
I think of what might have been.
I think of parents saying goodbye,
Letting go of their precious boy
To give him the chance to be healed,
I think of the goodness of Jan, his sponsor,
Hoping, sacrificing, and now rocking him towards
A final Peace.
This fifteen pound beautiful stranger has already made a difference in our world.
He has made us more compassionate,
More in touch with our own humanity
Without uttering a word.
This beautiful boy has made us feel deeply,
Reawakening feelings sometimes tucked away for our own protection.
But now, these feelings channel into making him comfortable,
Dignified, wrapped in Love,
As we midwife him towards his death.
His room is a sacred space.
To be in Room 16, to share his journey,
Is a profound privilege.
It is the essence of personhood,
Waiting with someone as they transcend this life.
To bear witness.
To walk with someone who will soon take another form.
To know that every life is important,
Even that of a fifteen pound silent stranger.
We are all connected.
We all share the same sky.
I thank you, David, for our awakening.