Hospitals, still haunt me

There is something deeply haunting about oncology wards
the linoleum floors, the sharp smell of bleach that burns your nostrils
the tiles reflecting light from the world outside
the sun seems far away inside these walls
you long to bask in its warm embrace when you’re lying in bed
a bed that feels like an island, an isolated island and your stranded alone
you’re sinking

The starchy, white linen seems to drown you
like the foaming waters of the unruly ocean
the squeak of rubber shoes, the synthetic material
reminds you that here you do not belong
nature seems far away
in between these walls

And all the bald headed people, curled up in their beds
their eyes tell a story of sadness and fear
it’s like being in a twilight zone
to walk amongst the sick, the fighters
the noblest warriors I’ve ever met
when the outside world carries on
as if none of this exists
but it does,
it does.

Once you’ve seen it, how do you forget?
I walk these corridors, peering into these hollow rooms
these hollow eyes
I’m overcome with the desire to run to the beds of the sick
to the beds of the young,
the teenage boy with the milky eyes, the shy smile
the girl with the smooth scalp and bright eyes, mischievous
she sits on her bed,
how my arms ache to hold her, reassure her
I was her.

To return to this world of beeping machinery
my body held hostage for a moment, once again
tears glisten on my cheeks for the suffering
isolated and alone in this cancerous reality
I quickly put it all behind me, all I wanted was to forget
but here I am reminded of it all,
and I can’t forget the value of this lesson

To come close to death
to taste the intensity of suffering
to feel so out of control
I never want to take this body for granted
a healthy body, the greatest gift of all
I never want to forget the struggle I have seen
because struggle is what forges compassion out of broken hearts

Humility is born from battles, from facing failure, from acknowledging the fragility
you can never go back, you can never go back
you can never un-see the hardship
there is value in that.

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