love's duty, and i done it

i finally got to see my mum
the night before she died;
it long time was that she’d been ill
but, then so had i.

i came looking like a bandit
medical mask swathing half my face;
t’was the only way they’d let me in
i’m grateful for that grace.

she was awaiting my arrival
i could see it in her eyes,
she was waiting on my arrival
til i came she would not die.

her small pastel room was cozy,
for a hospice anyway,
with mementos, cards and flowers
bringing cheer to her long days.

she floated on a bed of air
comfortable and best for her they said.
it seemed much too noisy to my ear
but i was glad of any good it did.

at first she didn’t notice
that i was in the room,
our souls by illness both so subdued
we could hardly pierce the gloom.

i’d come with sis and dear old dad
she was used to their visits dear
and one of them, i know not which,
told her “dave is here.”

her glassy eyes turned right to me
joy and hope did try to leap;
but the leap, alas, was more a crawl
she was just too worn and weak.

her mumbled words were fragments
not grammer correct as used to be;
slurred speech but with clear meaning,
love and encouragement aimed at me.

dad and sis would add a word in
and mum would then reply
but mostly it was me that night
on whom she kept her eyes.

those eyes did slowly brighten
and her energy grew strong,
at least relatively speaking,
but my duty came ere long.

her strength so waxed she actually rose
with help ’cross room she walked.
she wished to use the washroom
her medical condition forgot.

with dad and sis’s assistance
back to the bed she came;
her spirit still was mighty
but strength seriously on the wane.

it seems no one had made clear to her
the truth of that room and bed,
for that is when she reached out to me
and in thready voice she said,

    “i want to go home!”

thus heavy duty came to me
as so often seems my lot,
unpleasant truth still truth it be
i told her, “you cannot.”

“i can’t?”, she asked in a small voice,
puzzled not complaining;
“not ever again”, i bluntly said,
though grief my heart was paining.


she mulled this as she lay back down
both dad and nurse her aiding.
i felt sad but good for partly this harsh truth
was why for me she had been waiting.

a special bond had mum and i
we’d known each other’s weakness;
we also knew each other’s strength,
plain talk mine, hers encouragement and meekness.

she rallied and again sat up
love and joy shone in her face;
we four had such a visit then
a wonder of God’s grace!

reluctantly we finally said goodbyes
we all simply had to sleep;
said goodbye, peace in our eyes
none felt the need to weep.

then one last time mum waited
on my loving dear old dad,
to come where she lay stuck
as each day he always had.

faithful as he could be he came
near after dawn’s first light,
gladly to spend his energy and time
on one who’d made his life so bright.

he read a verse and said a prayer,
and sang to her of the Lord they loved,
touched her lip with water to sip
and cooled her with damp cloth.

the same routine as every day
since death too close had got
their bond forged even stronger
by the trials the cancer brought.

then one last time she looked at him
eyes full of warmth and love,
now at peace she closed those eyes
went home to God above.

thus a mighty Godly warrior
from this sad earth departed,
but her strong faith and love live on
into each she knew imparted.

love's duty, and i done it


Bellingham, United States

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 36

Artist's Description

my verse of the last hours of my mum

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