Sunday, September 4, 2011

Not Writing--Tending the Sick

This week my free time has been spent on something more serious. Mary Jean, a dear friend of mine here in my new hometown in Georgia, was diagnosed with cancer, and, given her health, was unable to go through treatment for it.

Instead of writing, I spent several mornings and afternoons with this sweet woman, reading to her, talking with her, fetching her grape juice and ice chips, and holding her hand as she explained to me how sorry she was. She was ready to go, she said, but she didn't think I was ready for her to go.

She was right. I wasn't ready. But I was so grateful to have these hours to spend with her.

On Friday they brought her husband from his nursing home to visit her one last time, and her house was filled with friends and relatives. And late on Friday night, dear Mary Jean passed away.

I didn't waste a moment. Not one second of that time was a waste. I worked on my son's comforter while I was there, and for the rest of my life, when I see that quilt, I will think of Mary Jean.

And I did write. I wrote a poem for her, while she slept:


The birds are calling
For you
Mary Jean

You will fly
Too soon for me

I promise
I won't forget
The patch of sunshine
Lighting your angel hair
The books
The stories
The breaths we shared

As our two lives
For that too short moment
Before you flew

Before you followed
The birds that called for you
Into the sky.


  1. That's awesome... you brought tears to my eyes, there are many things more important that writing--and there are time like these that inspire us, and make us better from that moment on!!!

    Great poem: I could feel every beat, thx for masking me appreciate what I have.

  2. Sounds like your time couldn't have been better spent.