Purchase Joanne's New Book Hospice House »

Joanne the Poet - The Poetry of Joanne M. Clarkson

Hospice Poem in The Healing Muse

My poem, “The Last Piece,” is in Volume 21, Number 1 – Fall 2021 of The Healing Muse, the literary journal of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities associated with SUNY Upstate Medical University. This is a very real poem derived from my experience as a Hospice RN. When I visited homes of the dying I often found jigsaw puzzles! They gave the carers, visitors and even the patient, something specific to do.

I specifically remember Karl’s home in a remote wooded area. His family got him the most beautiful puzzles mostly on animal themes since Karl loved all creatures. I mentioned to him one day that I saw puzzles in other homes also. He came up with the idea of trading puzzles and gave me a boxload of jigsaws he and his family had previously enjoyed putting together. He told me to give them away to other patients and families and if they wanted to donate some in return, that was fine.

My Hospice families loved Karl’s idea and I carried puzzles around in the back of my car for those who wanted to try one or trade.

Karl’s favorite was the puzzle of a beautiful wolf. Karl’s daughter kept this one and after his passing glued it to a board and framed it.

I was continually amazed by the generosity and kindness and ingenuity of those I served during my Hospice years.

Leave a Reply