This is a poem Teal wrote about a death she had just experienced, which hit her deeper than most of her experiences with clients.
Over the choir of the hour,
I hear the minute whisper,
that life is a series of seconds,
strung together one by one.
A happy life is nothing more than a succession of happy seconds.
But I watch this woman before me,
as I hold her in my arms,
twisting with fear and writhing in the agonized resistance to death
as she advances towards it with every breath she takes.
And I see that her existence, like so many was a desperate quest for a happy life.
Like so many, she spent her days so intent on reaching that happy life,
that she missed the happy moments as they slid beneath her feet…unnoticed.
Death, like birth shall have no dominion over the ever lasting soul.
When blood and bone and sinew are gone,
we shall all have stars at hand and foot,
though we resist it all the same.
The coming and going from this life, is not often a thing of ease.
And the bitter landscape of grief tells us that those who die,
are lost to us.
The living flesh is not immortal.
But death is not the monstrous tyrant that reminds us so.
Rather, it is the inevitable lesson which teaches us to look beyond the flesh for what it is that lives and dies.
Today, from the granting platform of my arms, she leaves this life.
When the line on the ECG runs flat,
her daughter, like a woman giving birth, is taken up by interwoven tears and laughter
in the throes of the release.
It is a palpable transition that liberates every one of us within the room.
It is a ceremony of souls.
I sit atop the white linens, both they and I, stained deeply by her blood.
What is left of her is celebrated in a residual silence as people file in to say goodbye.
I remain for a time, in the cold of her mortal garden.
Her skin as cold and pale as clay.
Holding her body, now renounced,
with immortality at my side.
Death does not stop time, even when it feels like it should.
The seconds are still strung together one by one.
The question is…Are you watching?