Waiting to Die


Waiting with my wife’s mother as she came to the end of her life stirred many strong feelings. She had been diagnosed with a  terminal brain tumor ten months earlier. As I sat and reflected on her life and my life, I began to ponder the end of life. Some die quickly and others live on sometimes in chronic pain, while for others the pain may come from the emotional part of our being. This poem looks at the end of life stages and how they affect us.

Waiting to Die

Becoming obsolete is one of life’s most difficult burdens

It is not something that comes on quickly

But rather happens over a few years

When things once held dear are no longer valued by the next generation

It raises a turmoil of the soul that at first kicks and screams

But gradually subsides into a churning rumble

Only to be followed by a great dull ache


Becoming physically challenged only adds to the burden

Our bodies slow down, wear out, won’t co-operate, get repaired,

Bounce back at times only to slowly head back down the slippery slope of time

That waits for no one but seems to careen wildly toward the cliff

This too raises the turmoil of the soul that at first kicks and screams

But gradually subsides into that churning rumble

Only to be followed by a great dull ache and a swell of physical pain


Becoming physically and/or mentally disabled increases the burden even more

When one can no longer care for himself

Or have the strength to move about

Losing the memory to recall life’s joys and sorrows

Or that unwanted friend and companion arthritis moves in and out

One begins to wonder why he continues to go on living

Now it’s just a long dull ache, for the inner kicking and screaming now subsides


Becoming totally dependent, sometimes unable to speak or function

Is probably the biggest burden of all

Long hours of little change of position or surroundings

Struggling for life with each difficult breath

Simply sitting or lying, waiting day after day

For the edge of the cliff to appear

Must make one wonder why some leave this world like the drop of a hat

While others continue on and on simply waiting to die


But what of heaven and the future life to come

Surely that should make it all better

Surely that should ease the pain of separation and loss


When all you know is the life you are living and the pain you are feeling

It is difficult to focus on what will come

In the present suffering one may understand what lies in store

But only feels the last pains of separation

From this earthly body into an immortal one

Safe in the arms of God

2 thoughts on “Waiting to Die

  1. Waiting to die expresses the anguish of the those who face terminal illness as well as of those who are close to them. I have passed through this so I know it’s pain.you have expressed it very sensitively.

    Liked by 1 person

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