These lines should be copied and placed in nursing homes, hospitals and hospices throughout the land. Such tender concern for your patients is marvelously touching.
"anchored in loneliness / yet surrounded / by a garden full / of love"
It is so hard not to form attachments to those we know will soon be gone from your care, you may attempt solitude, yet the blessings of these gentle but needy persons pierce your attempted shell of loneliness.
"onlookers / know sorrow / mixed with beauty"
This line made me feel that the poem was about your career. Normally the sentiment is "beauty mixed with sorrow" which you turn on its head. There is inherent sorrow in health-care and yet beneath the sorrow, the beauty of each person shines through to you.
"I've scattered enough / tears for you"
Here you confirm both your humanness and the depth with which you bring your heart to these lovely people.
"I give everything / to those I call my own, / swallowing darkness / so they may know / peace"
This stanza sums up the nature of your soul and how you approach your charges. You ease their pain but also their fears and concerns. You let them focus on their life rather than being obsessed with their pain. The image of swallowing darkness connotes a sort of salvation. Indeed, perfect description.
Dear Andrea, it takes a person with great compassion, a heart made out of gold, willing to walk the extra mile, willing to sacrifice and put all their personal feelings aside to work in such a field. You establish a bond, it's almost like family, it is so rewarding yet can be so frustrating because whatever you do don't seem enough. Those patients are so appreciative and a simple smile will brighten their day. They so depend on you, you become their comfort and may let them forget the pain even for a moment. You are certainly one of those people. So much love for everybody. Thank you for sharing. Be blessed.
That last stanza is something that I swear, my heart will never forget. That is the very essence of love. Giving everything to another with the purest of intentions.
And that is who you are, one who loves with such a good pure heart.
I don't have too many words as others have said so much but I value and am inspired by you. I know many others are too even if not that aware of it yet. You have taught me much about the dignity of others in the few years I've known you, and shown more love than I knew was possible.
It made my heart smile to see your post that it will be 30 years. That's truly incredible! What a calling and gift you have. You touch the lives of everyone :)