the past couple days have brought news of death; first, a friend’s brother. They were so close and he was very young, only 23. How do you comfort? There’s nothing to say. I don’t know; words fail me, so I put it into felt.

It’s a sugar skull for her. They’re reminders of those who have gone before us. Mexican tradition holds that the dead get saddened when we remember them sadly, so this is to keep happy thoughts in our hearts. They make a colourful mockery of death. While I was sewing, I kept thoughts of them both very close to me.

And the other news that darkened my day: the young Beninese girl I’ve been sponsoring for about three years died of a snakebite. She was only twelve years old…I really enjoyed getting her letters, her lumpy cursive and French simple enough for me to read.

Not to mention, I have been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series, and they are full of death! UGH passage of time, shortness of life, futility of really planning anything…! What a pessimistic few days. When older people die, it’s sad, but not with the sharpness that accompanies the passing of the young. Sad times in this old brain of mine.

To round it out, here is a poem I have been mulling over the past few days.

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, toward 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 have 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.

~ Mary Oliver ~


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