Tears at the bedside: When Hope evaporates

A recent on-call shift provoked a memory of another bedside visit…
And then this poem.


Tears at the Bedside: when Hope evaporates

By Deb Vaughn

We sat in silence.
She watched her dear one
As she hunched over the side of the hospital bed.
She finally said,
“I give up.
It just hurts so bad.
I can’t do this any more.”

Machines beeped and whirred.
Staff entered and left the room.
The full moon rose over the building
In a clear and frosty sky.

Tears came
For the end of life together.
For hope first deferred and then lost.
“Do you know how it feels,”
She asked,
“To have all the hope sucked out of your body?”

I could only nod “yes”
For my own troubles were tucked away
While I worked my shift.
I did not want to feel that cold pang
Deep in my gut,
The weight of sadness on my shoulders,
The tears a mere eye blink away.

“You DO know?”
She asked again.
My throat tightened.
I nodded slowly
and could only choke out two words:
“It. Hurts.”

In these sacred moments,
Where the veil between this Life
And the One to come is so very thin,
I feel the Spirit’s Presence
Weaving, blending, holding, piercing,
And most of all teaching me how to Love.


  1. Made me cry too. Tears are always just a blink away these days, and last night I gazed out the window at that frosty moon and prayed and cried. Maybe I was praying for you and the other two in the room without knowing it.


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