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 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 the 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
• Over half of us are touched each year by the death of a close family member or friend.
• 10% of us will die suddenly.
• 90% of us will face health care decisions about end-of-life care.
• 50% of our medical costs are incurred in the last year of life.
• What is your worst-case scenario for how you will die?
• What is your best-case scenario for how you will die?
• Even though there are no guarantees in life or death, what can you do now to maximize the odds of having a good death?
-- Joan Halifax Roshi
Susan Sontag (1933-2004)