Death and dying and happiness? Yes, please. Rev. Hollis Walker, an ordained minister who’s “passionate about death,” and Celia Owens, activist, artist and volunteer coordinator at Casa Cielo in Santa Fe, are in the studio with Melanie.
It sounds heavy, no? It isn’t really, not when you’re talking with folks who understand the sacred nature of dying a good death.
We talk about:
- the mystery and the joy that can be part of death and dying;
- what a “good death” means;
- our culture’s denial about dying;
- the “magnificent uncertainty” that’s a part of the process;
- the ways in which our entire life can be a preparation for death.
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 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