Freely exposing the wary naked soul, spinning out of control,
Putting love itself to the startling last test.
This is the job of the dying,
A primary imperative, outrageous!
As though physical ailment weren’t enough worry.
Bidding fare-well and a-dieu to relationships – Every One included,
Goodbyes to known customs and the social group,
To habitual places and plans for tomorrow's to-do's,
To all things precious and otherwise.
The task is required of everyone someday; it is immense.
Think of it! -- Everyone and Everything.
Others seem less helpful now, thinking past the dying to their own surviving.
We all live a collective co-existence, interacting voluntarily or not - social animals.
So much of life was other-oriented, person-focused,
Now forced to withdraw. A humbling, maddening endeavor, indeed.
Thoughts turn back often to review a meaningful life:
“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born And the day you find out why.”
(A joke with a profound moral dimension = penetrating insight).
The good we do for others returns to us. Give forgiveness.
Helping others also lifts the Self. Say: thank you for letting me help.
“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.” Give love.
Leaving the world of others a little more enriched because we lived.
And leaving loving memories will become a form of immortality; relationships don't die.
Life is fleeting and fragile. Live and love as though every day Is your last, or your mother’s last, or your child’s last. Leave no words unsaid, leave no plans unmade. ~~ Monica Williams-Murphy, MD, It's OK to Die [Thank you!]
* * *
What lies on the Other Side of death?
We don’t know. The challenge of the unknown.
Some rare reports are curiosities,
Believable, of course,
Because the reporters speak their own truth,
But extreme outliers.
“Ah, if we could only die temporarily!”
Goodbye without a known future destination is reckless,
Bold, brave, dramatic, and risky – alarming.
Adventurous courage, audacious nature.
Goodbye and go forth: these are the specified duties of the dying,
Massive. Staggering and breathtaking. Inescapable.
Traveling alone – a singles tour with no booked return – going solo,
A hobo in a strange land, without a travel buddy,
Daunting and disorienting, fascinating, mysterious and magical,
Ready to be whole and healed again - a state of love and longing -
In an elegant new space.
Preparing a Maybe? reunion with those once lost and mourned.
Hope is a thing of perennial persistence that refuses to be suppressed.
Everyone has a dream: the lost will be found.
Sunshine through raindrops, on the silken-ocean way,
Perfect temperature water by the later liquid moon light,
Foreshadows of peace and pleasure, dignity and grace.
Perhaps, after all, we do not go lone-ly; imagine
Goodbye to fond survivors, while forging a natural path to treasured others
Waiting in tranquility on the native Homecoming shore.
Letting go and letting grow, Grief and growth, unlikely companions,
In every grief lives a fresh seed of beauty, community, continuity and calm -
Even to the
There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy. . . . . Let us live so that when we come to die Even the undertaker will be sorry. ~~ Mark Twain
Supplemental Materials: "Distance lends enchantment to the view."
Samuel Barber: “Adagio for Strings.” It is said that the music is “full of pathos and cathartic passion, and it rarely leaves a dry eye.” It was played at the funerals of Albert Einstein and Princess Grace of Monaco. Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) requested that the Adagio be played at her own memorial service - imagining her afterlife. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izQsgE0L450
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Requiem Mass in D Minor,” K.626. He said he was composing a requiem for his own funeral. (He was imagining his dying...and beyond.) Written but unfinished in 1791; he died that year on December 5, before the Requiem could be completed. He was 35 years old. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPlhKP0nZII
“Steal Away,” written by Wallace Willis, c. 1860, an African American spiritual song, sung here by Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole. The song also contained hidden coded messages aimed at saving slaves’ lives as they escaped the South along the Underground Railroad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O5hz5KnSdc
“Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” traditional gospel song (anonymous writer) performed by Mahalia Jackson & Louis Armstrong. This song is played frequently in the dirge section of New Orleans jazz funerals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wX-YWOr8RQ
This is a loosely woven composition on anticipatory grief, the dying patient’s psychic preparation for tremendous loss. Its focus is specific and therefore also narrow. -- Anticipatory grief is generally defined as a grief reaction that occurs before an impending loss. Much is written about the survivor’s grief, in its multiple aspects, before and especially after a loss. Currently, relatively little examines the grief feelings of the dying patient himself. It is also noteworthy that the survivor’s natural, normal, and self-protective attention to his own grief may prevent him from being fully present for the patient’s grieving. This can become a source of guilt for the survivor after the death. -- For a further summary explanation of the anticipatory grief concept, please see the website of the National Cancer Institute, here: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/advanced-cancer/caregivers/planning/bereavement-pdq#section/_21
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted, but mostly they're darked. But mostly they're darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?” ― Theodor S. Geisel