4 Things about Death

“We are not there until we can say ‘yea’ to it all.”–Joseph Campbell

You know the end may be coming when:

1) your mobility drops to nil and you are confined to a bed.

2) you lose your sense of humor and find nothing funny anymore–being unable to laugh.

3) when you stop eating and drinking.

4) Needless to say, these are all important things to be aware of when one is very ill. But sometimes when the above road signs have been passed, the body just seeks significant rest or relief from unrelieved pain, and death becomes the natural end.
I have seen both my parents immediately after they passed, relieved of pain and suffering and nonstop decline, at peace. A true peace which passeth understanding. It is very hard to begrudge death, resist though we may try. The way of all flesh.
And we know that, by the very nature of process, that “end is right” even when one does not “go gentle into that good night” (Dylan Thomas).

A piece about the often accompanying diminishment process, something I have witnessed a number of times…

One by one the leaves fall from September trees as “Claire de Lune” plays on piano. It is like this with all and sundry. Gradually worlds you knew and once lived in vanish suddenly or gradually, one day at a time, from moment to passing moment.

Diminishment. you are downsized steadily–your world, how far you can travel, the people that know and remember you. Previous lives.

All the glorious plans and dreams shrunk or forgotten. Withered in fact.

And so a shorter day becomes what you can make of it, how much you can fill it up with spontaneous, useless pleasures. So that when evening comes and sunset, the melancholy feeling of emptiness is minimal and minimized.

What were you? Who are you? Scarcely known or understood, let alone appreciated.

Limited with limitations. And to think you once dared to assume or presume.

Obituary pages. Passing friends and family–all with their own lives and private struggles. Countdown. Finally maybe, just and only you.

The way of all flesh. incomplete, isolated, alone. An ember left of the glowing coal. A cipher. Ashes.

A sigh. Gone.


“We can’t rid the world of sorrow, but we can choose to live in joy.”–Joseph Campbell

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