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Final Rest

by Matthew Chase and Rosa Conrad

Published on April 29, 2016

Walking down those stark painted halls

A labyrinth somewhere between the lines

Of thick ammonia and tired sighs

Passing by rooms, mirror reflections of each other

Televised static are all that most see outside

Ridden to chair, bed, and four walls

A foreign home away from home

Sunlit skies beyond small window panes privileged to a few

Bodies exhausted from due time, senses gone fleeting

But surviving wills, beating hearts, keep on living

I find the room where I am meant to be

Sitting quietly at the side of a man

With resounding silence for company

He rests and endures as best as he can

Breathing in the moments, minutes, and tiny eternities

Pills stealing the pain away

But the same could not be said

For the struggle that remains

Lost within the confines of an unsteady mind

I take his arm in caress

And perhaps he’ll know being lost

Doesn’t mean he wanders alone

I remain there, wondering in our silence

At the life he lived and led

The lives he touched and treasured

As family, friend, and beloved

Loved ones asleep in their own beds, the first time in days

As I watched over their dearly departing

Grief comes without much respiteimages-1

No rest as the end gets near

It’s never easy letting someone go

When pain drives the instinct to hold on

That much tighter, for those left behind

Grief works in mysterious ways, unrelenting

Like life, it’s not as clean cut as we pretend

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance

A dark pool of mixed emotions, neither rhyme nor reason

I see the denial of hunger and sleep deprivation

Convinced it’ll help rule out the laws of reality

I see the anger expressed, at everything including one’s self

Easier than the pain and the fear, buried underneath

I see the bargaining in action, desperate transactions

With doctors and insurance, affording no assurance

I see the depression sink under the terrifying revelation

Death deals equally to all, with bureaucratic patience

I see this grief in the man’s eyes too

Loss is something experienced by not one side, but two

Knowing things will be left undone, words unsaid

Imagining, fearing, the burden he’s become ‘til the very end

The journey is more important than the destination

But dying isn’t a sentence condemned

And so here I am, companion and friend

He finds a little peace knowing his family will be okay

As he waits to take his last breath, a moment here, a moment gone

Solidarity through compassion and dignity at the core

Of a man’s dying wish for final rest


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