Death’s Sting

Where, O death is your victory?
Where, O death is your sting?

The sting is in the dying:
in stolen mobility
and robbed speech;
in the multiplication of wires and tubes
and the reduction of dignity;
in words not said
and sentiments unheard;
in unrealised hopes, unrealised.

The victory is in relationships
strained and unfulfilled;
in sage advice that could not be heeded
because it was never given;
in jokes not told and laughter not shared.
The victory is in the loss
of a father, a brother, a husband, a friend.

And it may be that we have the last laugh
for Death has been swallowed up in victory,
And there is confidence to say you are going Home,
and you will be free of pain and hurt,
Free to live utterly complete,
Totally fulfilling your designed purpose.

But for now we face dying, not death,
And the sting is in the skin.
It’s poison in our veins,
Slowing movements, clouding perspectives
Filling the internal pool
so it overflows in tears.

[This was written a few weeks ago after visiting my Father-in-law in a palliative care unit, and later in a hospital ward. On the 5th December 2016, he went to his eternal Home.]

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