In March, 2014, I had my 33rd anniversary of my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). In my 33rd year, after dealing with partial blindness, brain surgery, coping with a wheelchair and excruciating pain, I entered Hospice. My entry was not because I was expected to die soon; it was just that I was on a downhill progression with my illness and I needed to manage my pain.
It was a shock to me to be put into Hospice and I knew I had to deal with it myself. My wife, Amy, and my mom were incredible supports, but they were not always available. I used poetry as a way of coping. When issues came up, writing poetry allowed me to view that same situation from a poetic perspective.
In 2013, I wrote The End: A Creative Approach to Death. I felt creativity was important, because it allowed me to use my whole brain, instead of just linear thinking. I would encourage everybody to approach any major struggle using their whole brain, especially at the end of their life. It does not really matter what your creativity is, but it has to be an expression that goes beyond worry, fear or negativity.
I am not a professional poet, but I wrote these poems to help me process the dramatic journey I was on. This is the way I coped with a situation that even the experts do not have a cure for. The spiritual perspective for me was the deepest way to capture my situation not as a victim, but making the best out of a devastating situation. For those who related to my poetry, it triggered beautiful communications.
Everyone has the opportunity to utilize their right brain, if they express their heart to those they love. Only utilizing the left brain is a way to trigger frustration and a disconnect with those you love or those who love you. It is not time to focus on intellectually figuring out your situation; that needed to have been done before your final days. Completing unfinished business in your relationships is the best thing you can leave those who love you.
The following poems are an expression of the 3 months of my time in Hospice; July, 2014 to October, 2014. I am now in palliative care. My decline is not as dramatic and pain is relatively under control.