Being with Dying

In being with dying, we arrive at a natural crucible of what it means to love and be loved. And we can ask ourselves this: Knowing that death is inevitable, what is most precious today? ~Roshi Joan Halifax

It seems to me that loss came early in my life: my father when I was just 14, then my mother and two of my closest friends before I turned 50. I remembered Richard in a previous post (and have now added a photo).

Today I’m thinking of someone I knew for a relatively short time, but who meant a lot to me. This is for Mary Beth.


On a night of drinking and dancing
in a smoky Albuquerque bar,
you laughed and said
I made you feel secure.

But there was no protection
from disease that defeated you,
that made you lie down
in the bed of your pick-up truck–

a closed garage, a vacuum cleaner hose,
a note to your friends.
How like you to absolve us:
“I do not feel lonely.”

When the news came, I understood suddenly
that your last phone call–
cheerfulness strained through tears–
had been your good-bye.

I want to believe that your soul
passed easily through the thinned veil
on that Samhain night, to know
that you are dancing once again.


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