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Leaden blankets weigh her down,
White hanks drape her leathery face.
Caught in the numbness of narrowing time,
Eyes blinded by gauze,
Robotic sighs echo into her coma.
Metallic hiss of breathing machine is the
Strange violence of modern compassion.

What do we do when those we care deeply about are dying, while we go on living and working? We might be tempted to indulge in our own feeling of injustice, sadness, or fear, but we should think first of those who are dying. We have a responsibility to be with them.

Don’t let others die lonely. No matter how ironic your living may compare with their dying, act for them as they can no longer act. If they reach out for some way to cope with their impending end, you need not have flowery words. Merely being with them, perhaps reaching out to hold hands, is eloquence enough. Death may be near, but any amount of time before it comes is precious.

Life’s moments are not cheapened by death. Just to observe and affirm is good. After all, death waits for all of us. Only the value we place on each minute determines the quality of life. If we can embrace that, then no one’s life is ruined by death.


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