For Michele

One day you walked into the hospital cafeteria
And on shaky legs you pulled out a chair
And with a fragile smile and sunken eyes
You told us eloquently
That you were waiting for death, alone

As your voice quivered and your head hung low
No not in shame but a burden to your bones
As your muscles and tendons fell weak
And your heart and lungs grew tired
You still found your words forcefully

With strength and conviction, but hope
Left bare as a shipwreck with ribs on the shore
And anger swirling like dangerous storms,
Feeling abandoned, cast away
Desperate for other lost souls
To wander the sand and find your bottle

Today you are gone but still in my mind
I remember ice cream that you weren’t allowed
And slow walks through botanical gardens
Knowing there’s darkness in the light
Because death was waiting
And it was coming too soon

It twisted you in agony long before it knocked on your door
But you taught us lessons of bravery
And like me you dared it to show its face
And like me you begged for the end
In every little thing you did
It was there, you were waiting for death

Still you took each ragged breath with strength
And you faced each painful day
Teaching me that the fight is everything
Not the light or dark
Not the victory or loss
But the hope in the face of nothingness

The will to create when all is lost
The courage to take small steps in pain
The acceptance that you can’t hold your head up
No not in shame, but because that was your fate
Every bone you wanted to hide
Your loss of vitality
Your failure to thrive
Your complaint that your spine
Was spiky and horrifying to see
No I think you still saw your beauty
In the way you fought until the end
In the way you created life and raised them
In the way you saved a lost friend
Even when you were waiting for death.

It’s the year anniversary of your death and I miss you so much my friend 💜

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