I wrote the below after a friend of mine was “Gone from my sight” mid December 2013. My exposure to Henry Van Dyke’s emotionally provoking (at least for me) explanation of that with which we will all eventually become acquainted, was contained in a pamphlet provided by an attending Hospice nurse. The poem is self explanatory, however, what remains will likely take some time to sort out.
JBD was a friend of mine
Who assisted through a difficult time
My Father’s passing hit rather hard
But Jim brought me back to the line.
Crack of dawn breakfasts at Woods Creek Cafe
The weather dictated indoors or out
Target shooting for fun or a small bet
Companionship is what it was about.
Jim was a life member of the Mother Lode
Shot Cowboy Action for fun
Taught me to shoot the legendary Garand
And to load without “M1 thumb”
Just as he planned his membership now ends
No longer needing a gate card or key
Clear facts of life can’t be left to oversight
Because there’s a plan and a time we must leave.
We are clear down range -firing line ready
Nothing but perfect scores from now on
Say hello to my Dad for me
See you both for breakfast some dawn.
Thank you for sponsoring me Jim
Your friend, MLGC #074747617
What I have recently observed/witnessed is going to profoundly affect me for the rest of my life. I confess to having serious questions about the circumstances surrounding my friend’s departure along with legitimate concerns for how a surviving family member was treated (unfortunately leaning more towards mistreated) in the wake of his journey. My limited involvement materialized from a request for assistance. I was merely a friend called upon to help in particular instances yet was, as a result of this request, permitted a rare first hand glimpse into the world of end of life care traditionally reserved for those intimately and immediately involved.
I witnessed many things, some alarming, some disturbing, some quite comforting but I was not a relative or holder of the sacred Power of Attorney and was therefore simply a powerless albeit concerned bystander at the scene.
Every one of us was dependent upon someone when we came into this world and it seems a truism to the equation of life that most will require someone to advocate, speak and act for them when they are no longer capable of independent choice during their time on the end of life stage. Choosing those who will represent your interests and desires is the single most important decision you will ever make concerning your own life, please do so wisely without reservation.
My best to you and yours, Lew