Plant a Garden
After several years as a hospice volunteer, the author had learned many lessons about death and dying from the patients that he worked with, but none were more important than the lessons he learned from his wife’s cousin who died from pneumonia at age thirty-two. Although she was not a hospice patient, she embodied the hospice philosophy of spiritual growth at the end of life. Although she was slowly dying, she celebrated life. Even though the patient had been very sick for many years, her death came as a surprise. Sometimes the author talks to the patient when he is near her garden in the author's backyard. The author mows carefully around the rocky border, he looks at the statue of the angel, and he smells the scent of thyme and oregano. And sometimes the author thinks that he hears her voice telling him to plant and garden, and to write poetry.