Cost in Human Dreams

I read something the other day about how illness, particularly chronic illness, costs more than we can see. The article said that statistics could only tell us so much. “They do not tell us about the cost in human dreams and endeavors…”

I thought of a patient whose stories had been twirling around in my head like a song. I kept seeing her face from the four or five occasions we spoke. The movement in my memory from her spunky, particular manner to the more resigned countenance she had when we last spoke. She was leaving the hospital for home hospice, to die in her home. Even though I had seen her leave and return within a week that previous week, I knew that this ending was a final one for us.

And I’m thinking of her and her illness and its costs. How the world has seen her dreams in shrunken form if at all. Disease costs. And we hardly count those costs, hardly inspect them in an effort to keep managing day-to-day, without the care and love of somebodies telling us to take good care of our selves so that we can live into all those dreams.

And even when we do our best to care the best for our whole selves and when disease rips us apart, we still need people to come by our sides, to take us close, and to tell us in clear language that we can still dream. Of course, sometimes we tell others of our dreams.

So go to bed. Rest. Dream. Wake up. Live them.


  1. This woman was helped in her journey of relinquishing her dreams by having you to listen to her- having you be attentive to her. I’m so thankful for you, Michael. When I think of those who I’ve sat with as they said their goodbyes, I can imagine you sitting with us, too. I know you would have been a presence we would have welcomed and been comforted by. I’m thankful you are who you are and do what you do… and for your writing….



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