Death Watch

I wrote this one during the time we sat with my aunt as she was losing her battle with cancer.    The Poets United Verse First prompt gave me the push to share it, the other poems from the prompt can be read here:


Death Watch
We are the death watch,
Gathered, sitting, waiting.
 Nothing more can be done,
Simply anticipating.
Try to ease her discomforts,
And medicate away the pain.
Interpreting each moan and twitch,
Our efforts feel in vain.
They say that hearing is the last to go,
So we keep talking.
To soothe the anguish of drug-induced dreams,
Through which her mind is walking.
We are her death watchers,
Trapped in emotional limbo.
Waiting for her final breath,
Feeling guilty for wishing so.
Ever closer draws the hour,
At which anguish will cease.
When her long sleep arrives,
And she lies in peace.




Filed under Rhymes

20 responses to “Death Watch

  1. if only everyone had such love around them in their final moments

  2. A beautifully written poignant write. I had this experience with my father who died of cancer when he was only 53.


  4. Sad and hopefully very therapeutic.

  5. You have captured the thoughts and emotions of this situation perfectly. I too wrote on this topic for this prompt. Yours is wonderful. “When her long sleep arrives, and she lies in peace.”

  6. A tuff topic handled with care and difficult to share. Bravo!.

  7. I really like the fourth verse, beautifully written and so true the sense of guilt and yet relief through all the agonizing anticipation.

  8. K

    Wow- I loved his poem. Very emotional and powerful. I really love your use of the phrase “death watch”.

  9. Sometimes in life, we are placed in these situations. Torn between the impending loss of a loved one; yet wanting to offer comfort and proximity.

  10. Yoou have described the ‘death watch’ so well. A time when only one’s presence is important and it takes oh, so much courage to just wait!On The Border

  11. You’ve captured beautifully a moment that had to have been so painful. How sad and difficult to be a “death watcher”, yet knowing that the last breath brings peace. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Yes, that definitely is the way it is at a death watch. You have written life (and death) as it is. Some things of life are not easy, but they are as they are. And yes hearing is the last sense to go, so you never know what the dying person hears. Poignant poem.

  13. very poignant expressions you have used to capture the inevitable truth

  14. This took me back to my dad’s last hours as I watched him helplessly. Nicely written.
    Dropping by from Verse First.

  15. Beautiful and heart-wrenching. I do understand not wanting to see someone suffer and the agony. My mom is significantly younger than my step dad and as each of his relatives has succumbed to cancer multiple types she has been there caring for them, even when they want to die at home she has been the nurse doing everything giving baths, changing tubes I can’t imagine how hard that must have been I never realized how strong she was or how strong she became, you are strong as well and this gorgeous.

  16. What a powerful and moving poem…this one really touched my heart.

  17. Thank you everyone for the feedback and for sharing your thoughts on the matter. It has been really encouraging to read.

  18. Perfectly related. Many of us have been in that room, watching, waiting. You capture the emotional and literal essence of the situation. So glad you shared at Verse First!

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