Who has time for death?

“Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionately to their occupancy of your thoughts.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I woke up this morning feeling melancholy. Thinking about death. Steeped in gloom. Full of fear. I’ve lost a lot of people dear to me this year – and some of them have not been much older than me. Some of them have been younger. And all of that led my thoughts down a dark and dreary road as I woke to a new day – pondering the how, why, when, and where of my own demise.

***

I asked my husband what he was planning to do today and he mentioned some work he needed to do in his orchard. That reminded me that I had been hoping to dig up some crocosmia bulbs that aren’t getting enough sunshine in my Secret Garden, and transfer them to the front yard. So I grabbed a shovel and headed back to the garden. Spent some time rooting around for the bulbs and re-planted them in the front of the house. But while I’d been back in the Secret Garden I’d discovered blackberry vines trying to take over back there. And my butterfly bush and climbing rose needed some pruning. And the clematis and grape vines had gotten completely out of control. Accordingly, I fetched some pruning shears and the wheelbarrow and went back, again, to my garden to try to bring some order to the chaos.

I spent a good part of the day working outside in the fresh air, in the dirt and among the living things – digging, pruning, loading stuff up in the wheelbarrow to add to our brush pile. And while I was working I didn’t think about death for even one moment. I was on a mission. I had purpose. I had before me the vision of what the crocosmia were going to look like when they bloomed, and the hummingbirds that would be attracted to them, and the roses that would bloom on the climbing rose bush, and the butterflies that would flit among the butterfly bush branches come spring.

***

As the sun started setting, I headed out to the local supermarket to get fixings for dinner. And look what was waiting for me!

bow barn frozen pond sunset 3 this one

Now I ask you – who has time to think about death when there’s so much of Life that invites our attention?

I’ve decided my job right now is to live. I want to be where the living people are.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
– Philippians 4:8

 

 

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I Feel Her With Me

I feel her with me –
whenever I think of her,
she’s here. I feel her
when I’m kind and doing
something nice
for someone else.
I don’t feel her as eyes
watching me. Or as a ghost.
I don’t feel her as a physical
being at all. But I feel
the essence of her.
And I think she’s helping
me understand more
about who we are, really.
Not limited beings trapped
in these bodies, you know?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Not Distance Nor Time Nor Death

I heard the news today and thought how unfair life is –
and, for a moment, I didn’t want to be part of it, anymore.
And then, in the next moment, I was filled with gratitude
for life – gratitude that I’ve been given the opportunity
to know you here – to experience your beauty and
kindness and love. Nothing can take you from us –
not distance nor time nor death. Your love will live on.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

poem for Rachael

 

Pretending Death

I lay in bed, pretending to be dead,
not playing dead, but imagining dead.
Eyes closed. Breathing stopped. Mind blank.
Body stilled.
Is this what it feels like? I wondered.
And I wasn’t being melancholy
or morose or macabre.
I wasn’t wishing myself dead
I was just curious.
Is death just an eternal nothing?
And if it is, I reasoned, then
our time here is so short – so much to do,
so many to love, and so little time.
And the idea of that – so little time
to love – made no sense
to me.  How could Love ever end?
And I opened my eyes. Took a deep breath.
Got back to living.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Choosing to Live

Mourning Mom, grieving with Dad,
responsible for another person’s
health and finances and life,
and a target for gossip and fabrication
by a pillar of my community –
I am battle-weary and sick –
at maybe the lowest point in my life.
And I’m thinking that maybe
I could just slide down deep into
sickness, slip into sleep forever, fade
out and die, and that wouldn’t be so bad.

And from some somewhere there comes
a moment of clarity – a question
at the crossroads: You can consent
to death, or decide to live.
It’s your choice.
Life won’t always be fun and easy.
Choosing life will mean complications,
responsibilities, and battles. It will mean
a commitment. It will take some courage.
That path is not going to be all rainbows
and butterflies and starry nights.

And I nod my head. I understand
what I’m taking on if I choose life.
I will encounter mean people. I will
have to balance checking accounts. I will
have to deal with grief and mourning
and loss and heartache and pain and lies
and disappointment and failure. But there are
people depending on me to choose life.
I am needed here. And there are people
that I need, too. And people here I love.
And sometimes there will be rainbows. And
butterflies. And starry nights.

And so I choose life.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Couple More Moz Poems

Found a couple more poems Moz poems that I’d like to share.

Here’s one she wrote for my dad on their 27th anniversary:
Happy anniversary, Dee, my pet –
27 years and we aren’t through, yet.

We’ve shared tears, triumphs, ups and downs.
Sometimes we’re heroes, sometimes clowns.

But always caring for each other
Living as one, yet trying not to smother.

Our individuality, blending instead
to make a family, a home, truly wed.

Love and kisses,
Moz, Mozzy, Colleen

And this one – from Moz and Dad’s Christmas letter, 1974:
I always bite off
more’n I can chew.
I know it sounds corny,
but, honest, it’s true.

The school here, the chuirch there,
the errands to run.
The kids’ things; they’re everywhere.
Sometimes it’s not fun.

The dogs, cats, cows, ducklings,
keep us hopping like mad.
If you don’t hop just right,
things really get bad.

Like rounding them up
in a deluge of rain,
then slipping in poopoos,
it could drive you insane.

Well, say now! It’s Christmas!
I’ll strike a good chord,
Let petty things vanish,
and put up the sword.

Things never were better,
to that I’ll avow.
Got a gall off at college
learning “why, where, and how.”

The boys are still growing
and marching in bands
They like to go skiing
at good “Crystal Land.”

Dee’s painting and painting
mixin’ the right hue.
His new maps are progressing
and his hours are too.

I’m singing at weddings
and sometimes at church.
I hope to plant dogwoods
and maybe a birch.

Dear friends, everywhere,
I’m thinking of you.
So please don’t be mad
at my letters so few.

Seasons greeting to all
and to all a Good New Year.
Love, Peace, Joy, and Power
to all of you dear.
– Colleen Molenaar