It’s coming, we’re told, a loved one is dying,

Not next week, but soon, in spite of our crying,

We’re dancing in spirals, where to stop has no answer,

Just hold tight to each other, in the shock of this cancer

Denial goes swiftly - facts make themselves known,

With unblinking eyes that cut to the bone.

It’s a dance that we never would chose to attend,

But we’re drawn by the music that signals an end.

Bargainings no better - don’t step on my foot!

Keep twirling, it might give numbness a hook

To hang on to - so blankness can fill up my brain,

As I rush to keep up with this chilling refrain.

Anger’s not here yet, at whom will it rage?

Those closest to me might get burnt at this stage -

No touching your partner, move alone with the beat,

When anger flits by, it’s wise to retreat.

Acceptance - oh no! The music is slowing!

It’s not time to stop yet, this dance is ongoing.

Acceptance is calming, acceptance will come,

Just not right away, It’s too soon for some.

Let’s waltz back to bargain - a little more time

To say our goodbyes, tell of love that is mine,

And dance cheek to cheek with the one who is leaving,

To hold on so tight, maybe laugh midst our grieving.

The music speeds up - a tango is starting,

A fast stab of pain grips in my heart at this parting.

I can’t see my partner, for tears are now flowing

As I know where this mad dance with death will be going.

Let all those who love him join in the square dance,

Clasping hands in support - It’s worth taking a chance,

For there’s safety in numbers - can we stare Old Death down?

We’ll hold on to each other as we join this last round.

Let his passing be swift as he leaves this good earth.

Let pain leave his body, as he faces rebirth.

At his homecoming may dancing be that of rejoicing,

Light of heart, hear the song angel choirs are voicing .

There’s a homecoming dance prepared just for him,

As those gone before, his friends and his kin

Gather round in a welcome, such a wonderful crowd.

Light and love all surround him, death’s dirge not allowed.

Virginia Atkinson


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