Mr. J, I first met you soon after an attack,
The cancer had spread to the bones of your back.
I tried to be calm and offer you hope,
but I had just lost a loved one, and was struggling to cope.
I asked how your day was and you answered me kindly,
and then you asked about mine, and it helped to remind me
that a doctor’s hope is to heal and for that we rehearse,
but if we are hurt too, then our roles may reverse.
I wish I had thanked you for your compassion that day,
And told you that kindness is how most memories are made.
I wish I had asked about your grandchildren’s names,
As they laid by your side, engrossed in their games.
I wish I had promised you that good days were ahead,
To package the past, and look forward instead.
I wish we had talked about the source of your tears,
For medications ease pain, but only words can ease fears.
But I was busy that morning, and left it to fate,
Hoping that later, wouldn’t be a few hours too late.
My regrets are not many, but they replay in my head
Of conversations past, and what I wish I had said.