the facility #4: unless (for palliation)

it has taken
a while

the old man
and his son
have developed a relationship
that has certain

the old man
has always been competent
in areas where the son
has not

skilled work by hands
and in general labouring
are the old man’s skill set

his sense of personal control
and competence
has always been
to him

the son knows
to to step
across thresholds

break through boundaries

there has been
a gradual transition
in the relativities
of relationship

as the old man’s abilities
have diminished
and frailties
so the son
has gradually assumed
more responsibilities
on the old’s behalf

it is a
largely unspoken

at the facility
is generally
a relatively silent
that strives for an atmosphere
of genial co-tolerance

the conclusion is always a question
and answer

are there any things
that are needed

any tasks or chores
that will not wait

to be paid

health has begun
to fail

frailty has encroached
and the ability
of the old man
to leave his room

to leave his oxygen

to be
larger than life
in the usual ways
has abandoned him

his interests
have equally diminished
and conversation
is now
more likely to do
with joining
his deceased wife
as it is
to do with living

there has been talk
among concerned staff
that folk
less physically compromised
than the old man
may well succumb
to the lack of hope and prospect that pervades
all activities

they are concerned that
the old man
may just
give up

at the last visit
there was a change

a sense
that he appreciated the presence
of the younger man
and that the atmosphere
between them
becoming genuinely


there is a phone call
from the facility

no further visits
will be allowed
for palliation

no further visits
for the good

the greater good

of us all


9 thoughts on “the facility #4: unless (for palliation)

  1. Ah….this is happening in many places. A friend of mine here has her Mother in a care facility and can not visit her with the current restrictions. Some days on the phone the Mother is ok but now not so many of those days. Confusion. Abandonment. Despair. Thank you for this poem that describes the whole story so beautifully.

    Liked by 2 people

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