Contemplative Care

fall at nature center

In the woods where I walk, a doe lay dying
She could have just been asleep
but she didn’t stir as I walked by

Deer die just like all of us
I could do nothing to help her
except offer her respect for this transition

So, I whispered a lovingkindness mantra
customized just for this dying doe
“May you be free from suffering and die in peace”

As I walked away, I remembered
a memorial service for a friend, Brenda
that I had attended on Saturday

She’d long been homebound
with a terminal condition
yet kept a gracious spirit through the pain

Brenda could barely speak near the end
but when a neighbor visited her in her home
she murmured, “Will you stay for dinner?”
The neighbor did


Compliment this post with an essay from Tricycle, on contemplative care, So the Darkness Shall Be the Light”.

Photo of Lloyd Stage Nature Center in Troy, MI is from my personal collection.

10 thoughts on “Contemplative Care

  1. Such a difficult subject. Thank you for sharing the article, and your poem is a lovely compliment to the concept of making the end of life ” uplifting experiences of beauty, belonging, and meaning.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your letting the doe die undisturbed and account of a nearly-last request to “stay for dinner” combine to gently instruct yielding our impulses to the preferences of those dying. To walk on past in one case, to sit and stay in the other. Beautiful individually, but combined, these two scenarios illustrate honoring to the needs/wishes of the weak one. (An aside, I find it fascinating that the deer lay down where you chose to walk … that you were given a gift encounter and she was given a blessing … that neither of you anticipated the other before the moment …)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a beautiful reading of this poem, Jazz. I hadn’t seen it come together like that myself. In fact I wasn’t even sure the two events went together in the same poem. Your comment has made my day! It was a gift, a sad one, to see the deer. And it was a gift to go to the memorial service and hear people tell stories of a side of Brenda I didn’t know. Thank you so much for your comment, Jazz. I really appreciate your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

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