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Poetry and Medicine
August 11, 2004

For Morrie

Author Affiliations
 

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(6):664. doi:10.1001/jama.292.6.664

I keep telling friends
what a kindly death you died:
age 87, still driving,
still hitting the ball.
No months of nurses turning you in bed.
No years of children visiting whose names you forgot.
No endless days of pain or nausea or tubes.
I tell them how grateful we are
for that chance to say goodbye
so we don't have to feel guilty
for aggravating you the month before.
I tell them how you would have hated the life of an invalid,
how you were always too proud to ask for help,
how this kind death protected you from shame,
the "fate worse than death."
They nod in agreement, but we also agree
no death is kind to us,
forsaken,
left behind.

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