As I sat listening to a great jazz rendition of the song “Smile”, I saw Ella in my mind’s eye.  I met her just briefly- in the middle of a humble living room, lying in her hospital bed, pale as the sheet over her… but a smile on her face that lit up her eyes, and an infectious laugh that enveloped her granddaughters, while the last of her living siblings held her hand as tears dropped onto it.

She was taking care of the rest of us, and I learned from her family, this was the hallmark of her whole life: caring for everyone around her.  Even at the end of her life, she was spreading a smile to dispel some of the sadness.   I left her home with the thought, “Here lies Ella, practicing random acts of kindness.  You are beautiful”.

For Ella:

Smile, though your heart is

Smile, even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

you’ll get by

If you smile through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll see the sun come shining through

for you

Light up your face with

Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile what’s the use of crying

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you’ll just


C. Chaplin, J. Turner, G. Parsons)


About Amy Getter

This entry was posted in death bed vigil, laugh and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to SMILE

  1. K D Kragen says:

    You have shown Ella to be a beautiful human model for end-of-life elegance. Will try to recall her witness when I’m there. Thanks as always for your vision and clarity of voice. –dave


  2. noreen says:

    i remember a pt/woman named minnie who took care of lucy, cna and i each visit. “now sit down and relax” “don’t work too hard” “can i get you something to eat?” so we sat and relaxed and ate cookies. it is part of being alive, the ability to still give.


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