Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The End of the Line

We observe the sick and frail
the aging refuse life forgot
 the ancients leaving one by one;
we watch the sands of time prevail
cognizant when course is done.

A chronic tale with twisted plot
one that no one can forestall—
alone and holding stranger’s hand
the soul escapes this juggernaut;
there’s no repeal and no remand.

Who cries for those with none at all,
and holds their memory when their gone?
Who whispers prayers on their behalf?
You’re called to take your final bow
— no family left to carry on.

And learning that you’ve taken leave
'tis I, the stranger, who will grieve.

© Ginny Brannan 2014

Google Images/various sites

I work in a Skilled Nursing facility, and have grown rather fond of some of the residents. One of my favorites: a sweet Italian lady who reminded me of one of my aunts. She loved her bright red lipstick, and talking about life “back in the day.” Shortly after celebrating her 97th birthday, she spent a lovely day having her hair done and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air out  on the patio.  I learned the next day that she’d passed during the night. She had no family; she was the last of her line. 
I will miss her.


  1. Got me where I live with this one, Gin. And that's okay. It's a story that must be told about so many of the elderly. And tell it well you did, with strength, dignity and art.

  2. Beautiful. Sounds like she had a perfect last day. I'm sure you were a bright light to her.

  3. pinged the heart...i am glad there are those who care...one year in college i volunteered at a nursing home...just visiting...designing activities for them...we all need those that will grieve for us....


Thank you for reading my poetry and sharing your thoughts.