A moment from my summer as a chaplain in CPE:



After much debate

They conceded to take Kristy off life support.

She was only twenty-three,

And the cause of her condition:



The young woman with the jet black hair,

A husband too young to comprehend the reality of mortality,

And their two beautiful and boisterous boys.

They were always shining

Those sly smiles at the nurses —

As if they knew something

We did not.


Those beautiful boys.

Although not physically present on that Thursday afternoon

Had their smiles captured in photos;

Their images strewn across the room

Like a scrapbook of memories.

Kristy clutching one such photo,

Almost ready to paste onto a fresh page.


Those pictures made that hospital room

Feel as close to home as humanly possible.

Aided by the attention of the charge nurse -—

A woman of petite built but a powerful heart.

Bach and Mozart meandered through the room

Filling in the silent spaces.

A buffet of food —

Muffins; fruit; juice;

Forever redefining the term:

“comfort food.”



Family and friends gathered —

Whispering tear-filled goodbyes,

Holding her motionless hands,

Stroking that jet black hair

Upon which sat her ivory wedding veil.

The chaplain and nurses wrapped a red prayer shawl

Around her delicate shoulders.

She looked radiant.

And they were ready.


The pastor prayed over Kristy

Layers of laying on of hands

Grasping for a miracle

Whether in this life or the next.


And then,

She was free.

Invisible angel wings

Sprouting from behind her.

Ready to carry her off in an instant

Floating further into the hands of God.

She was liberated.

Free of the machine.

Free from being tied to this life.

Free to finally meet her maker.

Free to be.

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