Her labored breathing finally stopped.
The doctor whispered, "It's finished."
He rose and shut the morphine off.
We looked at each other with uncertain eyes.
The nurse started gathering equipment up.
The chaplain knew what to do --
He'd been here many times before
And almost certainly would be again --
"Let us pray the words of the Psalmist:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..."
The undertaker was silent and gentle,
With large hands accustomed to the dead.
He murmured sincere condolences
As he wheeled her shell out the door
And promised to be in touch soon.
Their assistance was for us, not her.
At long last, she was finally beyond
The need for human aid. Like a prisoner
Seeing the outside after decades, she left
These walls for the fearsome blessing of Release.