A cousin lies approaching death—
Upon the end there is no way
With pleasantry to give up breath.
The end is raucous, dirty, vile,
Pathetic and undignified—
We who survive say with a smile,
"Alas, he lived, and then he died."
The crisis of the final hours,
The final days, however many,
As flesh rebelling disempowers
The will whose clinging was uncanny.
Gently we seldom ever go,
So many shocks along the way,
In thick of pain, discomfort, woe
Beneath a God that holds no sway.
Lord, I am living long enough
To witness, wonder, and endure,
As pain foretold eclipses love,
With heaven's promise never sure.