You can cry in heaven if
someone kills you against your will
You can take time to mourn before visiting your loved ones
back on earth to tell them you're ok. It takes time
to come to terms with death even on the far side of the Styx
if it is you who has been killed. "I wouldn't have it
any other way" reserved for those whose deaths were innocent
I have a lot of company here,
you say, now that I have accepted my fate
kept apart ‘til then lest the other souls start remembering. . .
and couldn't leave the clouds to comfort you myself in pain
not of the bodily kind but of the soul but now I count my blessings
too and not just the mistakes
and carelessness that brought me here
no more pain and I can move freely about the earth without my power chair
I don't have to hold on for the next medication or nurture false hope
– Martha Deed
The Last Collaboration, p. 197
See PDF: Download Martha Deed Selected Poems
The Last Collaboration, a chaos narrative, is a re-construction of Millie Niss's life and death in a community hospital ICU. Because Millie was intubated but alert, her side of every conversation was recorded in a series of notebooks she sent home with her mother, Martha Deed. Millie's notes, emails, the daily diary she sent home, and posts to her blog are set into frames constructed from her mother's log. The Last Collaboration is a powerful document from which we can all learn.
Illness narratives (pathographies) may be broken down into three categories: quest, restitution, and chaos stories. The latter is the rarest and perhaps most important since there is much to learn from our mistakes. The two former ones can be “feel-good” narratives. For more on these types of narratives see: “From narrative wreckage to islands of clarity,” a fine article from Canadian Family Physician. The Last Collaboration is a true “chaos story” and a narrative we can all learn much from.