the choosing

‘I shall have no partner in the
last business,
And what strength shall I
Will it take long for Death me to
What shall I know?
‘But, a good traveller, much will
be familiar,
WenVnesR will not be stranae:
Nor echoing cry, the naked will,
the dark star
Rising for bitter change.
‘ ‘Shrouds have no pockets!’ True
fool, but the heart has! ?
When my grey fingers grope,
And those at whose door I died
look what my store was,
Tell them the tax is paid; I can
take it; the white shell — Hope.’
Dayboro Times and Moreton Mail (Qld.)Saturday 8 July 1939

Today I heard of two deaths. One was a man I knew just a little who hung himself. A sweet and handsome man. A musician.

The other was a woman I have known many years. I taught her children and they are friends, close friends, with mine. She has been ill for a very long time with a degenerative disease of some kind which had fairly much crippled her. A stunning, dynamic woman.

Death was afar from me for most of my life. Nowadays, she has a different place in my life. Nowadays I am not sure what decisions I would make. The time in the Old People’s ward at Bellingen Hospital horrified me. I have had many evenings of wondering whether the time is coming for me to leave the Planet.

Before the pain eased and sleep was lost to me.

Before I was able to lift and push and move and think again.

I wondered a good deal. I thought of kayaks and the river and the opioids.

I am 67 years old now and many people I know are dead or dying. I have been driven to finding a new place in my thinking about Death.

I CANCELLED the specialist appointment today. Lied to do it . I had zero confidence in that man and didn’t like the atmosphere at his surgery. They don’t even have email or answer machine. I don’t fancy a Doc who is that far behind in the times.

My Ex is ill again with more procedures affecting him. There is a whole batch of us with Hepatitis C and I , for one, spend most days scared shitless. I am, however, NOT grabbing at wafting vapours of Possible Hope.

So each day comes along now and whatever I do or do not do is good enough. Rich enough. Right enough.

Each day comes along and :

See what a wealth of love has been lavished upon me.

Fare thee well, J. Fare thee well.

“We have to cry, in sorrow, share our grief by crying and that’s how we break that [grief], by sharing together as a community. This is an important aspect of our culture. And this is how we are brought up. I see it is lacking in a lot of other towns where we go. We go there to meet people and to share our sorrows and the white way of living in the town is breaking our culture.”

“And a lot of towns you go to for funerals, want to do their own little individual things, instead of dropping what they’re doing to get together to meet the people coming in from out of town. The family has to sit in one house, or one area, so people know that they have to go straight into that place and meet up. We go and pay our respects. You supposed to just sit down and meet, eat together, share, until that body is put away, you know. Afterwards, we do whatever we want to do, after we leave that certain family…”



And for my sister who was taken in 2012 by lung cancer.

It seems to me that I am not very far behind you all.


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