As she lay dying
The nurses stopped by to say goodbye
and ordered an ambulance,
sending her home to die in her own bed
as was her wish.
“Here,” whispered Doris, “you’ll need this.”
Slipping me an impossibly large bottle of Valium.
“It might be days… save you a trip to the drug store.”
And so armed with ambulance, copious drugs,
and the “DNR” in my pocket, we set out for home.
Mom had lived a life of addictions:
Smoking, drinking, unnecessary prescriptions,
moaning about minor pains to a doctor
whose only function in life was to sign Rxs.
She was 69; looked 85 but pregnant, her liver shot.
Only two hours later, she died
after receiving a single crushed Valium stirred into juice
and sluiced into her mouth via straw.
My sister and I took the 199 Valium left over and,
in silent agreement, flushed them down the toilet.
© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Sherry Blue Sky
November 21, 2010 at 6:22 pm
Powerful, Amy. I so understand the impact of addictions on the family. I love the very real way you wrote this, just as it happened, one could see it all so clearly. An important passage. I especially loved the last two lines. Wonderfully real poem. I love your writing.
Sharp Little Pencil
November 21, 2010 at 8:53 pm
Thank you, Sherry. Yes, it takes one who understands that addiction cycle to “get” the importance of flushing the pills. Would have been so tempting for both of us to “numb out” but our kids were depending on us to be strong, so thank God for them, right?
I’m taking a bit of a break right now – it’s all good stuff happening, but time consuming – but will post and show up on your blog to comment as often as I can! Peace, Amy
November 22, 2010 at 1:32 am
I’m in agreement with Sherry! Thanks, Amy, for posting this!
Sharp Little Pencil
November 22, 2010 at 3:05 am
Thank you Debbie! I’m going on a semi-sabbatical for personal reasons, all good – no illness, etc. – so I won’t be posting or visiting your blog as much until February. But I will be checking in! I appreciate your words, always. Amy