We Spoke of Death and Life

I met a long time friend for lunch. As we relished the tastes and smells of our curry, we talked of the five close deaths she experienced over the past few months and my two acquaintances and our dear grand dog Sonny. We spoke to each other of death and suffering.

I shared the story of Sonny’s death as my daughter had told me, which was this: the Vet had come to the house after my daughter had set the atmosphere for Sonny’s death with candles, incense, and sacred music. Sonny had his head resting in her lap while the boys with their dad were gently stroking him, and then the vet administered the shot which allowed him to die peacefully.

I told my friend that after listening and allowing space for my daughter’s tears and grief, we ended the call and I heard my inner voice say, “This is how I want to die.” Then I thought, this is true. While I do not know how the end of my life will come, this visual my daughter offered was a comfort to me and held for me the profound sacred in the ordinary of the week. The attentive, conscious awareness in her experience with her family for their beloved Sonny with the beauty created within their sadness, lifted, and opened my heart.

All the while, the green shoots are rising from the soil, the river is running fast and high as the northern snows melt, and the sun beckons us out into the budding and bountiful world.

“Death twitches my ear;
‘Live,’ he says… 
‘I’m coming.” 

Virgil

“The old man smiled. ‘I shall not die of a cold, my son. I shall die of having lived.”

Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

“The sun was laughing down on them.”

Carlene O’Connor, Murder in an Irish Village

Ongoing Resource List: Reading for Heart and Mind

  • The Four Agreements: A Toltec Book of Wisdom by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Mindfulness and Grief by Heather Stang
  • How We Live Is How We Die by Pema Chödron
  • The Bhagavad Gita, Translated by Eknath Easwaran
  • St Francis of Assisi: Brother of Creation by Mirabai Starr
  • Wild Wisdom Edited by Neil Douglas-Klotz
  • Earth Prayers From Around The World, Ed by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon
  • The Tao of Relationships by Ray Grigg
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue
  • Unconditional Love and Forgiveness by Edith R. Stauffer, Ph.D.
  • Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Art & Fear by David Bayless & Ted Orland
  • Quantum-Touch by Richard Gordon
  • The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Persons Path Through Depression by Eric Maisel, PhD
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
  • Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living by Janis Amatuzio
  • Personal Power Through Awareness by Sanaya Roman
  • Violence & Compassion by His Holiness the Dahlai Lama
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver
  • To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
  • Meditations From the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
  • The House of Belonging: poems by David Whyte
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Soul an Archaeology Edited by Phil Cousineau
  • A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
  • Listening Point by Sigurd Olson
  • I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk
  • Dancing Moons by Nancy Wood
  • The Soul of Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
  • Keep Going by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Arriving at your own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
  • The Hidden Secrets of Water by Paolo Consigli
  • Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaran
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
  • Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
  • On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine
  • Joy in Loving, Mother Theresa
  • The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  • Let Your LIfe Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
  • Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson

Author: Mindful Contemplations

A weekly blog, in prose, poetry, or memoir, finding the sacred within the ordinary day to day experience. I offer inspiration and contemplation on the soul journey of the human spirit, diving deep and surfacing with hope.

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