A Nursing Moment – Dying

There are times when watching life expire
Becomes an experience to behold,
Opening the portal to another world
So different from ours, I am told.

Through this feeling of utter peace,
From a place beyond our knowing,
We are drawn a little away from here,
Maybe tasting the moment of our going?

A short distance down the path we’ll walk,
With our patient in the bed,
Standing by for whatever their need,
As soon as their name is read.

Then their life leaves, sometimes a smile or a grin,
Sometimes a fight and a kick,
Either way, the final’s not long,
As the soul uses carrot or stick.

And we are released back to the world,
A sigh, a slow outflow of breath,
Tears start to fall from the loved ones behind,
Who stayed watching, now suddenly bereft.

We quietly withdraw for a time,
Respecting the need for solitude,
Each to their own way to grieve.

Depending on the person’s faith,
Family requests,
Hospital protocol,
(deep breath),
We return to lay out the body,
Just the body,
The soul is gone,
You can feel the shell is empty.

With gentle respect, we remove the tubes
That were helping to sustain the life,
Wash the body,
Wrap it ready for the undertakers,
Or the keepers.

A bell rings,
Both a toll for the departed
And a call to action,
Mr Smith, in room 4 is calling,
Probably needs a bottle again,
Ah well, back to work…


Copyright 2015 Robin McShane


13 comments on “A Nursing Moment – Dying

  1. A great and powerful poem… I much enjoyed the minimalist perspective here… The way your describe in poetic terms those little and significant moment related to this meaningful vocation, so as to call it!… Thanks dear Rob! 😉 All my best wishes. Aquileana ⭐

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Aquileana – your comment means a lot! Love your latest post on the plaeides – just going to read a third time before commenting (as usual! 🙂 ). Best wishes for a magical weekend!


    • The joy of creation, not so Prospero? A breath here, a breath there – with 20 billion light years and who knows how many life forms and different ‘breaths’ in between?
      Magical stuff – thank you!


  2. Watching a person die can be a life-changing moment, and a nurse, who sees this all the time, probably has one of the wisest attitudes toward death. Nurses are among my very favorite people….the heart and soul of any so-called health care system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cynthia – so true! Some of my best moments in life have been my actively nursing experiences – and not the management parts! So much more the actual patient, hands on contact and caring parts! Loved it and miss it…


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