Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem- wedding trauma July 20, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:40 am
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The four year old leukemia patient

asked her nurse to marry her, and he said yes.

Then the whole floor got together to make a wedding:

flowers, brides maids, walk down the aisle on rose petals.

Ring pops were exchanged.

“This is the best day of my life!” the child bride exclaimed.

Youtube wedding video shared. Oh how cute! proclaims the internet.


I remember being four years old,

adoring the oldest son of our family friend.

His sisters all thought my devotion was adorable.

“I’ll wait for you,” he said with a kind smile.

And I believed him.

Then when I was nine, a wedding invitation came.

“You can’t have thought he was serious!” my mother snickered

at my distress.

I was rude to the bride, and no one understood why.

But I had learned that grown-ups lie and when your childish heart is crushed

they think it’s cute and kind of funny.

I remember, it was neither

for me.





Adults need to remember that children’s feelings are REAL, and that what’s ‘pretend’ is not always clear. When adults enter into imaginary play with such enthusiasm, they must do so with great care.  I confess, I’ve never quite forgiven that older brother (now 67!!) for crushing my childish heart’s expectation. While I definitely appreciate the intentions of all involved in this quote wedding unquote, I do hope Abby is not as crushed as I was to learn the truth.

Side story: the rudeness was that I told the bride her bridal hat was horrible and no one should wear hats at their wedding.  When it came time for my own wedding, I tried on a gorgeous bridal hat that looked fantastic on me.  Always sensible to hypocrisy, I chose not to get it.  (Looking at wedding photos from my era, I suspect that was probably for the best).

Article about the hospital wedding here.


poem-what they said September 23, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:54 am
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While he was dying

the nurses at his bedside

chatted with one another.

When he came back to life

he told them what he heard

and they could not

meet his eyes.



(true story)



one person’s attitude December 17, 2011

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:20 pm
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My dad is in the hospital this week. I watched with dismay how one harried and dismissive LPN managed to set an entire room in disarray. My father– weak, blind and quite deaf–was in quite a state, knowing something was going on, but helpless to deal with it, and not clear about what it was. I caught enough talk between patients and staff while I was there to know he hadn’t imagined things.

One person’s skill set makes all the difference. One person who is knowledgeable, pleasant, courteous, and respectful of the patients can improve the environment. A person who is sharp, unwilling to listen, dismissive of concerns or desires, causes more trouble, and more problems erupt.

As my father tried to explain what he had experienced, and I tried to offer (what I thought were) logical interpretations, he shook his head and remarked, “This is what makes people think they’re going crazy.” He was right. He didn’t have the picture completely right, but he had enough of it to set off alarm bells. I wonder how often this happens in extended care facilities? The elderly patients may frantically try to explain what they’ve experienced, and because their hearing or visual impairments make some of their observations unclear, and their interpretations may seem a little whacky, and their slurred speech requires some concentration to attend to their meaning, do people think the elderly person is hallucinating?

It is a valuable lesson on how one person’s incompetencies can negatively impact others. Attempting to mask incompetencies just leads to more problems, like ripples spreading in a pond. Listen. Find the problem. Attend.


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