The Final Phase

to all who looked

could bear to look

he was diminished

a skeleton of man

the faintest stamp


a vague tattoo upon

earth’s crusty dermis

his ink near finished

vibrant shades now

faded by his hands


a pencil etch-a-sketch

self-erasing shaken with

each dram and draw he took

a tracing watercoloured

in a wornout painting book


a disappearing frame on which

the cloth of life was worn

to disassembled threads

eliminating, obsoleting

even with each breath, he dreads

the final phase, the loss of vocal chords, the emptiness, the void of words – the stoking fear as death draws near, the absent smile, an unchecked tear – the fatal blow that takes him from those loved, those lost – the furtive reek encroaching, the avalanche, the bitter cost – the vapour misting, the misfiring heart, the solemnities, those torn apart – the shitting and the palour, the wasted times – the pungent puke of silence, he could taste the signs – his shell, it crumples, crumbles, vanishes and then – his one enduring, fleeting, ever-breathing thought that he should live, and live again – denying not his errors nor his sins long past – he sits, transfigured, mute, disfigured, and awaits his last-

behind the neutral mask

the fading screen

the maybe thoughts

of one still barely living yet

the might have beens

the deep regrets

desire to delay

the realisation

he cannot stay

a dying friend

and his careworn wife

the thoughts of death

the longing for life

no substitute

no greater bond

he sits and waits

for the not-so-great beyond

no consolation

in the years he had

too soon departing

husband, dad, grandad

a face resigned

while his heart’s aflame

no, no consolation

and I, I cannot him blame

for in the journey

we will never know

the choices taken

nor our time to go

27 thoughts on “The Final Phase”

      1. It must be a cruel place to realise that ‘this is it’, not be able to fight as we feel our bodies grow weaker and lose that will to stay. And the fear of that ‘unknown’ momus.
        Thankfully I have been shown the journey ( ‘The Death’ up on the menu bar), and the thoughts immediately after it, and my fears have been allayed as to that realisation and its purpose. It calmed me within to see what it meant to me in that understanding.
        But to not have that understanding must be a fearful thing, for them and others around them.
        I think it is from the fact that we never speak of it, that is why spirit showed me that journey above so that others may read and find a peace in that journey.


      2. I think fear is the great debilitator, Mark, and fear of the unknown must be right up there at the top. It would also explain so many other aspects of human behaviour, including the search for ‘something else’. Perhaps those with faith or the experience you describe are more prepared to let go. You’re lucky and blessed to have been given an insight.

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      3. It was a blessing…like no other…and I really mean that Anne Marie. Of all the things I have been shown THAT really showed me that fear that I think we all have, of ‘not knowing’ what is there after we die.
        The profound relief to ‘see’ something of this magnitude was so opening to my life, I let go this ‘thing’ that was always at the back of my mind…that some day I would need to face, but studiously looked the other way…in that fear.
        And I have let it all go, simply because of what I now know. It is in understanding anything that we can now see it for what it is, and that power of our fear is released, it is no longer ‘the unknown’.
        That is why spirit asked me to write that post, to remove that unknown and at the least show that there is something very beautiful waiting. Something very profound and still very much a part of who we are.
        And now I will add another part (soon), to show that it has another perspective that can give it more meaning as well.


    1. I don’t even like to think on it, Derrick, let alone witness it. It’s harsh but probably true for most of us. Who goes willingly, I’ve never known, except those who have resigned in despair. And I’ve known those too.

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    1. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who resigns themselves to the idea of not being here. I’ve read there are but never encountered it. We fight to live right till the end I think. This friend, in his early sixties, has his knuckles fixed in the clefts. What must be going through his mind, in the face of an embarrassment of good health around him, I can imagine, having been privvy to the thoughts of my eighty-year old-mum at the end.
      Flex those fists, Paul, it ain’t over till it’s over. Determination has won at least as many battles as strength.x

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      1. I was with both Papa and Mama at their ends – Papa at 87 had been bedridden for more than 50 years with a crippling neuro-muscular disease, and he was elated to finally move on – Mama was 93 and this life left smiling at their imminent reconnection

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  1. Very well expressed and having worked in nursing home for 4 years, along with losing grandparents and Dad, I have seen many stages of death. So glad my Dad had cancer only for 4 months. He and Mom danced on his last day, ate small bites of an anniversary meal and we’re watching basketball and he yelled out for his team. His weakened blood vessel burst and he died in Mom’s arms at home.

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