Monday, August 29, 2011

Sharing yesterday's post with d'Verse Poetry today.. scroll down past text below (...if you must ;) for my poem, The Dying Garden


Working for hospice, I have a unique privilege to see many lives come through our beautiful residence and pass on.  No one ever wants to go and live in a hospice home.  No one ever truly wants to visit there either. But, for those who need it, it is a beautiful home that provides loving end of life care to patients and their families. 

The other day, a large group of volunteers came to weed and clean out the gardens there.  We worked hard all day, pulling weeds, pruning, cutting back plants, and sweating.  I stood up, dirt on my hands and knees, and looked around me.  I knew there was more going on than just weeding. After all, we were standing in a living garden pulling out dead things.  Think of it. 

Right then, quietly, one of our ladies passed away and I watched her 7 children spill slowly out into the gardens to sit by the waterfall and walk the paths, absorbing the sunshine and fresh air… tears gently falling.  

Then, I noticed this bumble bee.  It was the huge kind of bumble bee that ordinarily hovers near your head and makes you duck.  But this one was not hovering… at all.  It was not gathering pollen.  It lay, barely moving, sprawled on the bed of this hydrangea, the softest bed of death.  I hoped this is how I would go… finish the work that God has for me and lay down in a beautiful place to die.  Our hospice home is the beautiful hydrangea.

There is a certain place between life and death.  I do not know if it has a name.  I have not studied it… but I have experienced it.  It’s a sacred place of passing… and I was standing in a sacred moment.  I wondered if the outside garden I was standing in, mirrored the ‘garden’ inside the hospice house.  A garden of lives, with thorns, illness, personalities, families, legacys, historys and names.  I felt sure that this earthly garden filled with beauty, weeds, death, new life and thorns was a very tiny picture of the difference between the gardens on earth and heaven.  Paradise, where there will be no more dying, disease or sorrow.  

The Dying Garden

garden of the dying
weeds of death appear
slowly, quietly accepted
welcomed even
expected as thorns and thistles
among beauty

tend the sanctuary
regrets ignored grow quickly
pulling pain and illness
harvesting what is
grieving what wasn’t
watering with cleansing tears
forgiveness rain

travel  sacred paths to find
deeply rooted legacy
perennial memories
calming hearts with lavender laughter
buds of new life
as hope blooms
 in the breeze of colors
swirling around gratitude bouquets

lay me down
on bed of bliss
tender place of passing
hold my hand and stay with me
‘til I let go
to  walk the Living Garden

Patricia Spreng

Joining today with the wonderful words of writers at Play Dates with God hosted by Laura Bogess at the Wellspring and On, In and Around Mondays hosted by LL Barkat at Seedlings in Stone


  1. WHat a beautiful post, Patricia. God surely gave you a gift in the seeing you describe here. You have such a beautiful heart and a sensitive spirit. I imagine you are a great comfort and blessing to the people you work with.

  2. I've experienced that thin place with both my mother and father ... it's a privilege to share that passage. Your words express it beautifully.

  3. All I can say is thank you for these words of grace. Words I need.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  4. Oh, Patricia, wow! I'm speechless, just letting the tears flow. Such beautiful words of grace and peace and mercy and love -- the deep and fathomless love of our Heavenly Father. I can only imagine my brother cradled in beautiful white hydrangea as he passed into eternity at just 32, leaving behind two sons, one two and one unborn. There was so little peace for a time. Your image offers such hope in the midst of great grief. Thank you for sharing the words of your heart!

  5. Lovely reflection on such a hard moment in a life.

    (And, on another note, your poem in the Retreat post made me smile :)

  6. This is beautiful.. brought tears to my eyes.

    Thanks for sharing this (and pictures too)...

  7. Lovely expression of life as a cycle in beauty. Truly capturing expression ~ Rose

  8. I should love to go on a hydrangea too.

    Your writing is lovely. I have tears in my eyes.

    So many mysteries. But love all around, and the best waiting for all of us.

  9. Sweet write holding much grace between the lines. Love this line: "calming hearts with lavender laughter".

  10. Wonderful capature in such a light and loving way, very well done!

  11. It seems as if you have surrenderd all will all 'the ego' of 'I am' and that it seems as if that is the place you reached in your surroundings. We don't need to meditate to get there and maybe working where you do you are more attunded to the spiritual vibrations of coming and goings.
    This is truly a beautiful piece because, in its reading, it's very clear, you 'get it'

  12. I am so very honored that you have shared this wonderful work here with us this evening, on my lucky number week! There is peace, rest, faith, and so much more weaved throughout the poem, and your leadin write was just as amazing. Thank you for the work that you do, the compassion that so obviously fills your heart, and for today, I thank you most of all for sharing these thoughtful words with us.

  13. Thank you so much for your words of inspiration and grace

  14. So many hospice workers are wonderful souls. They really do make all the difference to people in their last. Your beautiful poem really captures that truth. Thanks for writing :-)

  15. truly filled with beauty and grace...all living all dying ...the cycle of this amazing journey -love the thoughts that the second stanza pulled from my mind...thank you...bkm

  16. The garden is life - and a life. Good poem, Patricia.

  17. First I, want to say I believe Hopsice people are walking angels. I have had the privilege of dealing wit Hospice on 3 occasions. Walking Angels!

    Second, You poem is just so beautiful! There is something scared in that final moment. I have experienced it for myself. Just beautiful!
    The image with the bee and hydrangea brought me peace knowing of this sacred place between living and dying. Thank you.


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