Silence

Diving Deep and Surfacing by Janis Dehler

Phoebe fought hard with the cancer,
first denying its existence 
until she lost swallow, and then
realized she could no longer fight.
Holding her hand, 
I wanted to say “you are not alone” 
but I knew she was, only me, no family,
and she knew it.
I could not go with her,
nor fully enter her experience.
That distant look in her eye
now focused, now vacant,
rolled back, a stab of pain, shudders.
I thought of the day I took her to the doctor,
her courageous smile,
dyed red hair carefully styled. 
She could not walk or talk by then
but she could apply her makeup
like an actress before the curtain rose.
She had her pride. 
I could smell the cancer,
the decay within, and
I wanted to give her something
of comfort.
A peaceful steady gaze, eye to eye,
hold of her hand. Silence.
I will remember.




Phoebe was a client in the late 80’s who radiated life until she could not. I did not mourn for all the losses as the knowing of one could be brief, but I keenly felt her death and was privileged to be called to her side at the end.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

On Going Resource List

  • Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living by Janis Amatuzio
  • Personal Power Through Awareness by Sanaya Roman
  • Violence & Compassion by His Holiness the Dahlai Lama
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver
  • To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
  • Meditations From the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
  • The House of Belonging: poems by David Whyte
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Soul an Archaeology Edited by Phil Cousineau
  • A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
  • Listening Point by Sigurd Olson
  • I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk
  • Dancing Moons by Nancy Wood
  • The Soul of Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
  • Keep Going by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Arriving at your own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
  • The Hidden Secrets of Water by Paolo Consigli
  • Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaran
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
  • Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
  • On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine
  • Joy in Loving, Mother Theresa
  • The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  • Let Your LIfe Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
  • Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson

Author: Mindful Contemplations

A weekly blog, in prose, poetry, or memoir, finding the sacred within the ordinary day to day experience. I offer inspiration and contemplation on the soul journey of the human spirit, diving deep and surfacing with hope.

2 thoughts on “Silence”

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