The Year Long Patient

Will held my hand with his own;

I could feel the calloused skin which turned dirt for years-

Growing a living out of the earth

Finding water where there was no rain,

Making shelter where there was all sun.

He turned my ear with his sighs;

I remember him stumbling over the phone buttons

As he asked me to call his wife

To tell her the truth of his health,

That he’d likely not make it home with his life.

He caught my gaze with his eyes;

Eyes that had been taped shut through

Procedure after procedure after procedure –

Eyes that had blinked through

Seven hundred and thirty tea times on the ward,

Eyes that had seen through

Over a thousand changes of nursing shifts.

Will shared his own hopes;

Telling us that he was still there –

Trying to fight as hard as he could,

That we should leave no avenue unexplored,

No options unconsidered – a battler til the last

He held on that day – when all hope was crumbling away

As his family kept vigil by his side

Two days later he did know it was his time to go

And he left us with an ache in our heart.