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