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in memoriam

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I’m late in posting today: first four hours of orientation to become a spiritual care volunteer at a new hospital, then meditation at a psycho-geriatric care home, then calls back and forth with the executor for someone I’d agreed to accompany to the end. Her death came fast. Only two weeks ago I drove her for a medical appointment. Our conversations around dying had been cursory and her instructions regarding her memorial service in their infancy.

Now she’s gone. Her lawyer and I have set a tentative date for a gathering in her momory and I’ll have to connect with her friends and nursing colleagues to work out the details. I barely knew her and feel privileged to have been asked by her to arrange the gathering.

She was born and raised on a Prairie farm, down to earth, direct and caring, a gardener, worked as a nurse, good friend to many. I adapted this death poem in her name:

My six and sixty years are through.
I was not born, I am not dead.
Clouds floating the Prairie skies
The moon curves through its million-mile course.

source: The original poem is by Yakuo Tokuken (d. 1320). In: Hoffmann, Y. (1986) (ed.). Japanese death poems written by Zen monks and haiku poets on the verge of death. Boston/Tokyo: Tuttle, p. 127.

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