She Always Called Me Sweetie

The little room was suffocating
I sat there with my sister Suz, my brother-in-law Dick,
and the shell of my sister Peggy
I wouldn’t have known it was Peggy in the bed
if Suz hadn’t also been there
I hadn’t seen Dick in 28 years; he’d changed,
looked like Grizzly Adams after a month in the woods alone

And Peggy? She didn’t look like anyone I knew
The last time I’d seen her she didn’t look too bad
And she had been hopeful, ready to fight and win again

But she wasn’t going to win this time
She would breathe her last in that tiny, sterile room

I’m not a fan of hospitals or of cancer
Twice when I was young my mom went into the hospital with cancer
She’d survived but her hospital rooms were no more pleasant than this one

As I listened to the beeping of the machines
Feeling the oppressive pall in the room
My mind drifted to memories of my dear sister
Of how she always called me Sweetie

Oh how I wanted Peggy to open her eyes right then and say,
It’s okay, Sweetie
But it wasn’t okay
She wasn’t going to wake up and reassure me
I’d never again hear her voice

As darkness descended outside the window,
It crept into the room as an impending doom
And we waited, quieter now

The quiet in the room became noticeably quieter as Peggy stopped breathing
At that moment I prayed that God knew her heart
I prayed that if she had not been a believer, as Dick said,
That Jesus would have come to her in her sleep, in her dreams, and called her soul home

I prayed that I would hear her voice again someday in Heaven


I’ve already posted my Lenten poem for today, but the dVerse Poets Pub prompt for today was to write about a room or a memory involving a room, and I immediately thought of a chapter I had previously written about my sister’s death. I decided to take that chapter and reduce it to focus on the room. I was going to save it to post and link tomorrow, but I changed my mind once it was done.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


26 Responses

  1. Old Indian rooms new..
    teepee medicine now..
    men and women
    caring heARts
    oF Great SpiRit
    free.. never
    from God alWays
    here before and
    now again.. free..
    fearless iN

  2. This is very powerfully written and so well crafted for such a personal and difficult time. Those rooms do haunt in a way but I like Mary’s poem when she writes about the room might sometimes pray. Thank you for sharing this and hope all can be at peace.

  3. This line is just so strong in an understated way: “I’m not a fan of hospitals or of cancer” Re: Bjorn’s comment, I think powerful poetry has a way of evoking emotions, perhaps memories of similar experiences that hit the reader in the gut. I would take it as a very strong compliment, because poetry is geared just for that.

  4. Powerful. The hospital room, its stainless steel, its white sheets, its beeping machines and then not beeping. Excellent description of a room we never want to occupy….not like this.

  5. Thank you for sharing such a personal part of yourself and that room where you waited for your sister to pass, Linda. As I read your poem, I thought about my five siblings and how I couldn’t bear to see one of them go. But when our loved ones are seriously ill with no hope of recovery, we can’t bear them suffering either. I’m sorry that you lost your sister, Linda, you have my condolences.

  6. I’m so glad you posted this memory, in all of its detail. We can all relate to such rooms and such events. You have captured it simply and powerfully, and you took me right there, to that final breath.

  7. What an honest poem. It comes over like a bull at a red flag. Sorrows to you for having a ‘Dick’ in the family. Not easy. I rate your poem highly.

    • Actually, I feel sorry for Dick. He was so hopeless after Peggy died that he shot himself a month later. Conversations I had with Peggy in the weeks before showed me she had much more hope than he did. And for that I’m glad. Peace, Linda

  8. This is a very moving and sad poem, Linda! It is very hard to lose a sibling and I am sorry you lost your sister. I think she knew then how much she was loved by those who surrounded her.

  9. Linda, you have really given us the feeling of that room, as well as your whole experience there. I was struck with the way you expressed how the dying process really changes a person. I was also struck by the way you described how quiet descended into the room!

  10. Linda this is so powerful and emotional… I have tears in my eyes when I read this, this has to be the favorite poem I have read from you… and I really like how you focused on the room when you wrote it, it added that extra layer making it great.

    • Thanks, I think. I’m not sure if being able to make someone cry about the death of someone they didn’t know is a compliment, but I suppose it was meant as one, so I’ll take it. Peace, Linda

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