Tag Archives: dying

dead

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We make an ofrenda, which is an altar for the Day of the Dead. I bring photos of a father, grandparents, an uncle, a sister. Among them is a suicide, an alcoholic, a poet too gentle for this life, women who had to scramble to survive or live with men who treated them badly. Few died with any semblance of peace.

I offer chocolates and mums, a pencil for the poet, a cigarette for the smokers. What I wish I could give them is another pass at life, for too much of theirs was stark and unforgiving. Some of it was character, some of it was heritage, some of it was cultural.

Do not go gentle into that dark night, wails a poem. But why not? Why fight against the dying of the light? For we all must die. It’s the last clause in the contract made with being born. What unseen can I offer my dead, who have gone on before me? Courage to amend mistakes and character flaws with unflinching honesty? The never ending weeding of my inner garden? Loving what is? Love?

For them. For me. For it all. Forever and ever. Amen.

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the wall

I added to my collage wall today. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I’ve stepped into the last year of my ninth seven-year cycle….I move into the beginning of a new seven-year cycle next year. The base of this collage wall is a drawing made sometime in my forties, when my internal life resembled a trek in a fire-ravaged forest, no green visible anywhere. Atop that is life since then, anything that has attracted the magpie in me….pretty ribbon, words from friends, beautiful art cards or wrapping paper, a few photos. I can see it from where I work, and sometimes I’m amazed at all that’s pinned up there, amazed that I really no longer remember much of the fire.

I’m moving into an end game in this journey. I don’t write that to be dramatic, but to be soberly clear with myself. There may be less than one seven-year cycle left to me, or I may attain more. What do I want to do with this long or short season left? Health, for one thing, as I watch Alzheimer’s take my mother. A live Robert Earl Keen concert instead of just listening to the mix my son made for me, that’s another, but small. If it doesn’t happen, I won’t really care. I don’t long for foreign lands, but I do long for meaning.

Time for another bucket list, a deeper, gutsier one….what’s yours? What would make you say, today, today is a good day to die?

 

 

ready

I sat Friday in the office of a funeral home looking at packages for cremation. It’s for Mom….not that anything’s happened, but we don’t have a thing in place for the time when she leaves us. Mom’s not sick….if you can call having Alzheimer’s not sick….and the funeral home was small and quiet and surprisingly comforting. As I discussed details with someone, tears came up. There was a momentary glimpse of that time when she will be no more and of the big gap it will leave in my life. I had glanced through a book on grief as I was waiting. With Alzheimer’s, the book said, you lose your role, your place, with the beloved person long before you lose the person. That moved some of my continuing upset into a more understandable place. A funny Mother story: she grabbed up the four placemats from the dining room table not long ago, went to the front door, and announced, I’m ready to go. Is she? And am I ready myself?