I was sitting on the edge of your hospital bed,
thinking about my mother, your daughter,
and whether the smile she was masking the pain with would falter;
when the jagged rhythm of your breath had altered
I jumped to my feet, and let my mother take my place
as we listened to gasps of breath change the pace.
The nurse said it was normal that you couldn't feel any pain
but it was the sound of your death that I was scared we'd retain
I stood in the corner watching my uncle and mother create a wall with their figures,
as if them looking away would put a hand on the trigger
After 10 minutes your breathing got quiet, so quiet we thought you were gone
Then with the whoosh of your lungs, louder than before, it was like you were saying "so long!"
The silence replaced it, I still stood in the corner and noticed that no one had moved,
As if a moment so final needed it's minute to say goodbye to the body it used.
This is a poem describing the last few minutes of my Grandmother's life. We called her 'Babs' or 'Nanny Babs' because she was the baby of her family so it has always been her nickname. I wasn't close to her. I loved her but we never got a chance to really know each other until the end of her life so I struggled to find an honest way to write about this moment. It may seem quite distant and unemotional but I respected her greatly and wanted to portray the moment as accurately as I could.
Thank you for taking the time to read my poem for the loved Babs