When Death Comes

When death comes, like the hungry bear in autumn
When death comes, and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me
And snaps his purse shut
When death comes, like the measle pox
When death comes, like an iceberg between the shoulder blades
I want to step through the door, full of curiosity
Wondering “What is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?”
And therefore I look upon everything as a brotherhood and a sisterhood
And I look upon time as no more than an idea
And I consider eternity as another possibility
And I think of each life as a flower
As common as a field daisy, and as singular
And each name a comfortable music in the mouth
Tending as all music does towards silence
And each body a lion of courage
And something precious to the earth
When it’s over, I want to say
“All my life I was a bride married to amazement
I was a bridegroom taking the world into my arms”
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
If I’ve made of my life something particular and real
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened or full of argument
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world

As my wife Jody struggles to stay alive, then despairs, then lets go … and does it all over and over again, I look at my own death.  After I die, I will be remembered fondly by many … for awhile.  My friends will go on in their ever evolving lives, most likely thinking of me less and less as the years pass.  Eventually they will all be dead and I will be an unknown person in historical time.  Maybe this blog will survive and some post will touch someone way down the road.  Or maybe not.  I realize today that I’m okay with all traces of me disappearing from the planet.  I don’t have to write that book.  I don’t have to resurrect my batik and have people enjoy the works of art I create.  I don’t have to burn my love into anyone’s soul so that it stays there eternally.

I don’t know what’s next.  Multiple lifetimes?  Sure, I’m open to that.  The candle of my soul flickering elsewhere in some unknowable realm of being?  Okay.  But perhaps nothing, zero, the void, the end.

I know that when my last hour falls upon me, I will be happy, at peace.  I can feel that already.  To die with a smile on my lips … I think so.  Looking back at countless moments of contact, not at achievements.  Looking back at silence inside, not the chatter of society.  Looking back at standing still, arms by my sides, head bowed, sufficient in the universe.

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