On Coming to Terms with Death

The most important freedom in life—and perhaps the only true human freedom—is to put oneself right with Death.  For the most profound fact of life is death.

        Life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one, as night and day, clouds and the rain, the earth and a tree are one.  Only the fact of death puts the question of life's meaning in all its depth and ultimate significance.

Only when one faces losing something—or loses it—does one recognize its unappreciated possession.  Once we accept the fact of our death—that small piece of time given any of us—then we begin to truly comprehend and fully appreciate our lives, our friends, our small accomplishments, and each day that is given us.

I may die before morning and any friends or loved ones may be taken before I can see and talk with them again.  It has happened and will again.

What did I do to deserve birth?  Nohing whatever. It was a gift.  I am here—that in itself is a miracle.  I have no right to a single minute.  Some are given a single hour, others a few years...of being a child, or youngster, or adult...

Who has not had friends, now gone, who were given far less than they?  No one can choose when they will die—unless they painfully abrogate that ultimate from the Giver of Life.

I choose to accept Death now:  the justice of death which respects no age or position and the injustice of life in which the unexpected often happens.

I have had many good years and although I have many unfinished projects—I do not have the right to a single minute more: I cannot demand another day.  As of this moment, I give up my "right" to live, and my "right" to others' lives.

Even if my loved ones are taken today from me, there is no way I can feel cheated.  I didn't deserve them for a single minute.  God knows.

And when I do that, every minute and each day is a precious new gift.  Another day to hear and see and touch and smell and taste and walk and read and love and laugh and cry and think and celebrate.

"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt unto the sun? 
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath 
from its restless tides that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. 
And when you have reached the mountain top—then shall you begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim you limbs, then shall you truly dance." 
(Gibran)

©Paschal Bernard Baute, 1977


 
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