Holding Vigil

Last May I wrote this poem in the final days of my mother-in-law’s life. I share it again as tribute and reminder as we mark the days of holding vigil and saying our goodbyes.

Holding vigil– as I wash the dishes, make meals and weed the flower beds

Holding vigil– as I stay up to hear the whir of the garage door

Holding vigil– as you come to me whole in my dreams

Holding vigil– as I embrace the ones we love, giving all I have 

We all need someone to hold vigil

To companion us as we move toward the horizon,

We all need someone to bear witness

To remember we are not the sum of our endings, our worst deeds or our bad days

In these days of holding, simple acts of kindness are magnified:

Fuel for the grueling gift of holding vigil

We all need someone

To hold our hand, whispering words of love and release

We all need someone

To know and to tell the beautiful story of our life.


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