I chose poetry as my medium because I felt it would best capture the emotive nature of seeing my palliative patient. Poetry has always evoked a visceral response in me, and although I read many, actually writing something has always seemed beyond my capabilities. When I saw my patient, however, the fortitude of spirit and character they exuded made me feel obliged to challenge myself.
I wanted to explore the ideas of the inherent value of human life, and how as we grow older society dictates that value must be qualified. A baby is the most precious form of life, it is celebrated and revered simply because of what it represents – a new human being. However, as we age that value often becomes externalized to our achievements or the wealth we have acquired. This to me epitomizes a fatal flaw of human society. We lose that sense of worth, that mana, when our humanness becomes older or we are unable to contribute as much to society as others, which manifests heavily in the dying. This is a group of people, by design, unable to perform like others, but we are socialized to see them as being disposable, and that makes me ache. I chose the image of the mother and child to convey the ubiquity of our worth, and the religious imagery to remind us that we are as worthy as the divine to be upon this earth.