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The social worker put this poem in the book of prayers, etc. that we have at work for when people of different faith need a bit of encouragement, and our spiritual care director is not there. The poem make me think about the different goodbyes that I've had over my life.




After A While Veronica Shoffstall

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
And you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure
that you really are strong
and that you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
with every goodbye you learn...


While it really fits many of the situations at the hospice, it makes me think of the smaller goodbyes that have affected me. Not just deaths, but little things, people who come in my life for a shorter time than I would have liked, and are gone. Goodbyes to things that aren't people. When I stopped being passive and took control of my own happiness.

I like how she wrote how a person has to plant their own garden and decorate their soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. Cut flowers die, but improvements made as a person grows and 'plants their garden' implies, to me, that people should plant bulbs, so the flowers come back every year. I like to think I let Josie help me plant my garden, but ultimately, I'm responsible.


Take a moment to reflect; tell me what this poem means to you? Does it describe anything that you've learned with growing up, or goodbye?

Date: 2010-04-19 01:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-04-19 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sliveredlight.livejournal.com
Thank you for that. I've passed it on to a friend who is hurting for the recent loss of her mom. I also lost a casual friend yesterday to cancer, so I'm a bit contemplative. I'll elaborate later when I'm not at work :s

Date: 2010-04-20 04:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amigone.livejournal.com
I'm sorry about your friend, even the loss of a casual friend is hard. Really cements the fact that we're only here for a short while.

Elaborate when you can.

Date: 2010-04-20 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sliveredlight.livejournal.com
My most recent post in my own journal spills it basically. Plus the one friend I found out is in remission from lymphoma (good news, but still scary).

- the lady who passed on yesterday was a former manager at a couple of places I worked.
- a good friend of mine lost her mom last week (the one I'm passing the poem to).
- another friend my age is a recent transplant recipient - good news but not without its share of complications.
- another friend is 4.5 years ovarian cancer free.
- my grandmother on my dad's side died of complications of breast cancer.

I myself am going for additional testing in July to see if there's any reason for concern. Well, we know that there IS, but to what degree, basically.

Date: 2010-04-20 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sliveredlight.livejournal.com
oh and one more friend who just recently did round 3 of chemo. his is a cancer of the blood if memory serves.

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