I walked into the room where you were;
You looked so peaceful,
So natural, like you’d looked many times
over the two decades I’d watched you sleep.
I leaned over and kissed your lips
But not reciprocating now.
I smoothed your snow-white hair
with my hand.
By small measure my heart was tearing apart
as I searched desperately
for a miracle.
But you were too silent. Too still.
I knew you were gone.
They told me as much.
And deep, life-giving breaths filled your lungs
I took your hand in mine, held it,
and felt your life-warmth still lingering.
I nestled your warm hand to my face
and then to my breast
as I fought to stop the unstoppable.
Minutes flew like seconds.
I was loathly sentient
of the remaining evidence of life slowly
Draining from your hands;
Your life-warmth giving way to Death’s icy grip.
Strong hands that had crafted and built
So many memorials,
Had cradled so many babies
Now limp and leaden as I held them
in my own.
Gentle hands that would never again caress my face
As they had in life;
Nor gently feather-touch
to the small of my back
As they had nearly every night before.
Later, making arrangements, I stroked your
Now bitter-cold, stiff,
And hot, salty tears could neither warm them
Nor rouse you from your horrid slumber.
Before I locked you away
I placed tokens of our years together
into your clay-like hands.
Bring them to me,
cradle my face;
stroke my back;
touch my heart.