Longtime Libby resident Crill captures tragedy through poetry

23 Jan 2009 by under News, People

I recently spoke with , a resident of , Montana for more than 40 years. Mike has been diagnosed with asbestosis as a result of years of asbestos exposure at the W.R. Grace & Co. mine in . He has watched many members of his family suffer from asbestosis and mesothelioma as a result of years of exposure in the workplace and from widespread asbestos contamination throughout the town.

These days, Mike is an outspoken activist who lobbies for more thorough cleanup of Libby and the surrounding countryside, or a quarantine of the town to protect future generations from exposure. I’ll have more about his mission in the next few weeks, but I wanted to introduce you to him through some of his writings.

Following is a poem that Mike created in memory of his father-in-law, Donald M. Kaeding, who was diagnosed with asbestosis in both lungs in 1999, and passed away on January 30, 2002.

Today I’m Told
By Mike Crill

Today I’m told I have asbestosis in both my lungs
and that I am being sent home to die because there is no cure and asbestosis
is my guarantee to death…

Today I am scared to what has become of me.
I no longer can run nor walk very far.
Life’s getting harder every day…

Today I’m saddened by those who love me as they try to hide
the truth and their pain, knowing I shall soon die and that
they will witness my every moment, until I die…

Today I feel so lost because my life depends on a tube that
pumps oxygen into my lungs to keep me alive. Knowing beyond
the end of that hose lies the end of my life…

Today I am mad because I can’t feed myself and someone has to
bathe me, dress me and change my soiled pants. It’s times like
these I wish I were dead…

Today I am in the hospital. I’ve become too much for my loved ones
to endure and I am crying inside because I know when I leave here
I’ll be in Heaven…

Today is the worst, no feelings in my hands and feet, both are
turning blue and non-stop morphine is all that’s left to ease
my pain…

Today I tried my hardest for my last breath, for my last
touch of a hand in mine, as the last words I heard and the last
words I spoke, “I love you…”

Today … I’m in Heaven. No pain for ever more. It’s really
beautiful here. And I shall await for you all to join me in
eternal life and love…God bless and Amen

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