The Eternal Smile

     This poem started off innocuously enough, with nothing in particular to connect it to anyone or anything, but as it took shape it became a tribute to the passing of a close personal friend of my wife who passed last month after a battle with cancer. As I was writing it, I remembered the long conversations that she and my wife had while they were “visiting” in hospice and slowly it became her “story”…

     May Eternal Rest Be Granted Unto Her, Oh Lord. And May The Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her. Amen.

In memory of Kandi E. Hayden 8/2/50 — 9/26/13

Rest In Peace Kandi,

Jack and Beth Downing

May The Perpetual Light Shine Upon You..

May The Perpetual Light Shine Upon You..

The Eternal Smile

 As she lay in bed

this morning,

she’d been thinking

how things, used to be.

And how the days of her time

passed so swiftly

but left her

with a grand memory.


Yes, she thought

of her mother and father

and her siblings,

her home and her pets.

She remembered her friends

from the old days,

and how her life’s been

as good as it gets.


Then she pondered

the event of her passing,

would she know

when the moment has come?

Or would it be in her sleep

with her eyes closed

with the medications

to make her feel numb?


But, she knew now,

that the time was upon her

and her faith

must carry her through.

 Still, she was scared

of the passage,

that would then take her,

from all that she knew.


But, a smile returned

to her pale face

when she heard the angel

that whispered her name.

And that was the face

that the nurses,

witnessed, the next time

they came.


 Jack Downing

Oct. 2013

Copyright© Jack Downing, aka Jake All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or disseminated in any manner without the expressed written consent of the author. JRD 10/12/13


About poemsandponderings

Hearth and Health are wonderful things and if you're without either such sorrow that brings So I cannot express enough thanks to my Lord and to my family and friends for the support you afford! ~Jack Downing~
This entry was posted in God, health care, Loss of a friend, old days, peace, Promise Land, spiritual and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Eternal Smile

  1. My mother had sudden diagnosis massive cancer throughout and lasted 5 weeks. I kept her home as her home hospice nurse and she died in my presence last Sept 17. God I hope they don’t put me in a hospice. We had her in and out of hospital hospice 2 or 3 times but she thought she was in regular hospital. I’d rather be left alone to drift away in the forest, mountains or seashore not in a dying room.

    • My sincerest condolences Carl, I can relate. I too feel strongly about the whole “hospice” thing, (my mom was in one for a couple of weeks) and while I am amazed at how the care-givers can do the job, I am, at the same time very much against the “place to die” atmosphere. If I have my choice I’d rather be at home, but I also understand how difficult that can be for the survivors.. But in the end it will probably not be up to us anyway.. Stay well my friend.

  2. Denise Downing says:

    So very wonderful you very talented person.

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Beth Ann says:

    What a beautiful tribute. Simply wonderful. Interesting the comment from Carl about “hospice” as my experiences with it have been so totally different. It does not have to be in a “hospice unit” but it is what may be what the family and that individual wants. I am sure they all vary from place to place but as a volunteer with Hospice of North Iowa I can only sing their praises. The unit here is clean, bright, modern, comfortable and most of all peaceful. I was able to be with my father in law when he died and it was in a nursing home but it was still a blessing to be able to be with him. Death is not easy at any time but if it can be made a little gentler and allows the family to be at peace all the better. I do love this poem today, Jake. It touched me. Thank you.

    • You are so right when it comes to hospice Beth Ann, some are wonderful places, such as the place that Kandi was in, but if at all possible I think that the more familiar the place, the better, for the patient.. I know that it is not ever easy on the family though.. I understand that some areas of the country don’t even have home hospice anymore, of course that will probably change under the Affordable Healthcare Act, and we will all be thrown to the curb during our final hours.. With the following attached to our hospital discharge papers: “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”* *I wish I could insert lol, but I can’t. However, have yourself a great weekend, *Jake. *

  4. Sally says:

    As usual what you write is always so timely for me. I have been remiss lately with a lot of different communications as my time and thoughts are with my baby brother (stage 4) cancer. Thank you May I substitute “he” and read this to him? So beautiful…….

    • Sally, absolutely you can substitute and I hope that somehow it may help. I’m sorry to hear of your brother’s condition, and I want you to know that you will both be in my prayers. God be with you..

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