The Long Goodbye
My mother died from dementia. I have written this poem that addresses bearing witness to slow, terminal diseases such as Alzheimer's and how hard it is to see your loved one vanish painfully before your eyes, knowing they would never choose this for themselves. The end of the poem raises the question: How far does love and benevolence go? What would God want and how would He judge? These are difficult questions that we must struggle with as a society, culture, and world. What is really right or wrong or merciful? I leave that up to you to answer....
What would you want if it were you experiencing the long goodbye?
I lost my dear mother over a period of ten plus years to dementia. My only comfort was seeing her well cared for and in no apparent pain. She never would have wanted her life to end as it did. I pray she did not suffer. I observed a few grimaces as she neared death, so I suspect she was not totally pain-free, even though she was on pain medication. This "long goodbye" has made me consider the difficulty of this experience for our loved ones and those who love them. This poem, "The Long Goodbye," arises from the heartfelt feelings and contemplations experienced when losing a loved one over a long period of time.
The Long Goodbye
The long goodbye will bring tears to your eyes
The relationship vanishes, disappears and finally dies
As you slowly, painfully lose the person
Life becomes unknown and uncertain
The empty body is still there
You cry out to God with anger; it's not fair
The living dead is what's seen and said
You live in fear facing the future with dread
The person you love is being slowly erased
These trials and tribulations are too difficult to face
Their smiles, their laughter, the glimmer in their eyes
Gone and wasting away, it makes you cry
One moment a glimpse of who they are
Then they are gone somewhere so far
Your heart is barren and lonely, but still cares
Your mind wanders to reality, and you feel so scared
The human connection is now long gone
You proclaim this is not right, so very wrong
You touch their skin still warm as they stare into space
Blank and forlorn is the look on their face
Can they just slip away and stay with no pain?
Close their eyes then to permanent sleep remain
Someway somehow, this is God's plan, you trust
These thoughts you claim, you believe, you must
One final last lingering forever kiss
To the one you love, will always miss
Sadly with resign, you walk away slowly closing the door
The suffering is gone; the pain will be no more
- Dr. Rhonda Milner
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21: 4
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"