Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hospice and Nursing Home Poem: Hospice Volunteer Reflections

Over 400,000 hospice volunteers across America enhance life in patients’ days. This poem is from my book "Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes,” which includes an original poem after each chapter:

Reflections of a Hospice Volunteer

I leave my car and walk into a world with many fates.
The people live reality where three words dominate:
“Nostalgia” brings memories that make them question why.
“Delusions” create fantasies that often come alive.
“Anticipation” beckons the beginning of each day.
A visit, party, special news⎯what is on the way?

Sedonia tells me stories of how life used to be.
Many things seem different now. She’s almost ninety-three.
Moochie shields unseen friends he pledges to protect.
I wonder if he sees and hears the friends he manifests.

Dexter smiles and says with pride while waiting for his son,
“All my children visit me, and each is Number One.”
Pearl yells, “I want some cake, and bring it just for me!”
She thinks that I’m employed here. She sees me every week.

An empty bed reminds me that someone else has gone.
Next week, I’ll see someone new. Life’s cycle will go on.
Juan trails me through each room while planning his escape.
“I have somewhere to go,” he pleads. I stop him at the gate.

I leave this special world today with wisdom strong and rare,
Respecting every circumstance that brought each person there.
Our futures are unknown to us like roads with endless curves.
I drive away feeling good, happy that I served.

© Frances Shani Parker

You can hear me reciting this poem on YouTube.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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