Pain of Passage
I sit on the seventh floor, east wing,
on the eve of my birthday
listening to the quiet noises
of the machines keeping you alive.
No birthday toast, only the water-soaked sponge
I hold to your parched lips. No birthday song
or shared reminisces of birthdays past.
I say little during your brief moments
of awareness, though there is much
that I long to say. My eyes
focus on yours, trying to convey gifts
of love and strength and hope
for better days to come. You felt the pain
of my passage into the world
forty-four years ago. Now I sit by your side,
praying that this won’t be the night
that I feel the pain of your passage out.
Patti Herman recently retired from a career that focused on promoting child and family wellbeing. Her retirement provides her with more time for other things that are important to her, including writing. Patti and her husband, Bill, can be found at home in Lodi, Wisconsin when they aren't off discovering new places to hike.