I have invited readers of the Second Wind blog to submit their thoughts and works here. Ann Cooper of VT kindly sent this poem. Ann doesn’t mince words about what it is like to be on the edge of mortality, but the poem ends in wisdom…with a way to approach the fact we don’t live forever.
I also recommend Woody Allen’s thoughts: “I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
Here’s Ann’s poem:
My Stomach Hurts
My stomach hurts
and has since yesterday.
It gurgles, stabs, and spasms
whether I sit or stand or move.
And, old now, in my 80th year,
I wonder, as I do with almost any twinge,
Is this it—the beginning of the end?
My grandma was 70 when she died.
“A good life,” they said, as she yellowed
and wasted in intractable pain.
My sister, 60, died in ICU, entubed, immobilized,
amid monitors and bells and beeps and
the soft scurry of nurses’ shoes.
My father younger still,
isolated in his home and self
by cruel, but then accepted,
refusal to share with him
what we all knew (and he did too).
I see them all and project:
is this what’s now in store?
In the not too distant past this would become obsession.
Now instead I strive for mindfulness:
attentive silence, peaceful heart,
and know that really all is well,
that fear and mental chatter
stymie life while I still live—
even though today
my stomach hurts.
If anyone wants to add his or her own way of addressing these fears at this time of life, feel free to write them below. If you wish to get in touch with Ann, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org