Monday, September 24, 2007


There is a wonderful poem I have treasured since college days. It was written by Mary Jean Irion. I want to share it with you.

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you, before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my fingers into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want more than all the world your return."

Our lives were suspended from the middle of August until the middle of Sept. My husband's sister, Cathy, developed a massive infection and literally fought to her death. She existed in ICU units in two cities for a month. Spending a month in ICU as an observer is an education in itself. The heros were family members who found out they could become advocates, effective and vocal, for their loved one. And nurses. I am one. But the profession I spent 40 years in reinforced my commitment to it. They were strong advocates for patients unable to speak for themselves.

But more important than all of that was the dignity of the human spirit. We, who were allowed to be present to the most important journey Cathy ever made, marvelled at her strength, at her presence in the moment, and her final total acceptance. I am not the same person I was last month. My gift in that time lapse was the stark reality of that glorious normal day!

Pax Tecum