Category: Hospice

Why Am I Alive? Why Is She Dead? No. 2

This is August–the month in which I wrote several poems for my dear friend, trying to cope with her dying, trying not to be scared for myself, trying to find courage. (See No. 1)


how do you live
when your life has been
reduced to dying?

where do you find
some shreds of joy
amidst the crying?

when is it time
to cut the bonds and
give up trying?

(Excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear, and Loneliness (C) 1993, 2003 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

More poems for Ann to come…


I’ve Lost My History (Mother’s Day7)

During the eleven long weeks that my mother lay dying in hospice, someone told me to ask her everything I wanted to know. I tried to think of things, but I was so shocked by the whole situation that I couldn't form the questions. Ask YOUR mother things you need to know NOW.

I Clutch the Keys
My mother held the keys
to what I can’t remember

She was the buffer
between eternity and me

She was the one
who first gave love

Now—against my will—
I am at the head of the line

I lead the way
to the new tomorrow

I clutch the keys to the memories
my children can’t remember

I give the love
that can’t be bought

At last I am first—
I’d rather be second again.

(Excerpted from The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, Moving Beyond Regret, copyright 2002 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

Do you know your medical history? Your family's? Do you remember your parents' parents? What do you want your children to know?