a blessing for those who keep watch over the sick

Sometimes love isn’t enough.
It can’t save them, save us,
save the life we had together. We are finite.
And so much is out of our control.

So bless the ones with the courage
to walk all the way to the edge,
who peer over the cliff . . .
and feel the updraft of the abyss,
and who will do it all over again tomorrow.

Blessed are the hospital-room-organizers and question-askers
and the more-ice-chips-please-gatherers.
The absolutely, yes, this hard-backed chair is
perfectly comfortable sleepers
and over-the-top pray-ers and

Blessed are the cool-cloth bringers
and the wake-up-to-get-the-meds alarmists
and the I-don’t-mind-taking-you-to-the-bathroom carriers,
guarding others from their own humiliation.

Blessed are the ones who stand,
unblinking into the truth.

No matter how terrifying,
no matter how life-altering.
No matter how inconvenient or unbecoming.
No matter how much it costs them.
Because that is the kind of love that sticks.

Blessed are the hand-holders and truth-carriers,
for they will walk us to the end
before they have to let go.

*From our new book of blessings, THE LIVES WE ACTUALLY HAVE (2/14/23)