Below is a link to an interview from the program On Being. Beneath that is a poem contained in the interview which weaves together many of the themes discussed in the interview. The interview is not just about dying and the state of affairs around that in our western world, it is as much about how looking into death’s face at anytime can inform and shape our responses to life.
Whenever I encounter this type of discussion, whether in print or in person as a result of being with or around death and dying, I am profoundly affected and deepen my commitment to live more mindfully, compassionately…and perhaps more bravely! The interview is well worth your time to read. Once you do…what do you think?
A Midwife to the Dying
A Poem by Mary Oliver
Reader: 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 the purse shut; when death comes like the measles-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 the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it is 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.