Today is Memorial Day, a day of remembrance, a day of honor. Even as we rightly perform these honorable and necessary acts, there are those among us who are approaching their final journey, and those whose families anxiously parse words uttered by members of the healthcare team regarding the status of their loved ones. Often these words are deliberately ambiguous, designed on the one hand to warn of the approach of the inevitable, on the other attempting not to destroy all vestiges of hope. It’s for each one of us to decide whether this aversion to casting a clear verdict is kindness or cruelty.


“More perfect” may not be as perfect as “perfect.”

“Safer” is not completely “safe.”

The comparative hedge, approaching –

but not all the way there.

So when the doctor says he is more stable,

that doesn’t mean truly stable,

or even almost stable.

And it certainly is not meant to imply one step above stable.

We wrap our words in ambiguities, despite a future

we fear is coming. For now, you walk through the valley

of shadow adverbs, the land of qualifiers,

for one moment more.

  • Wynne Morrison, MD, MBE
This entry was posted in America, Death and Dying, Health and wellness, Medicine, Poetry, Thoughts & Musings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to More

  1. Ana Daksina says:

    The valley of shadow adverbs ~ priceless!

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