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Monday, October 6, 2008

Questions

Prompt:  Tell me what you will miss when you die.

 

When I die, I will miss living, of course.  

But, when I die, I’ll still be alive.

Darn.

 

When I die, I will miss my loved ones. 

Wait. 

Loved ones wait for me, there, in that place called home, after this life.

Darn again.

 

When I die, I’ll miss chocolate, and coffee, and rain on my skin, the colors of a tree with dying leaves, orange, red, gold, brown.  I’ll miss the yellowed pages of my favorite book, the smell of ink as it flows from my pen.

 

But will I miss…anything, really? 

When I die, will life begin and be so very wonderful that I cannot miss the temporary pleasures that delight me here and now?

 

When I die, I will miss…

I am not sure this is a question I can answer.

 

There are too many questions:

 

When I die, will there be coffee shops, music, blank pages and plenty of ink?  Will the flame of a candle intrigue me, warm my fingers; will it inspire?

Will it rain, and snow, will the wind blow warm or cold on my freckled skin?

Will I have skin?

 

Will textures intrigue me, the feel of sandstone against my feet, the feathery ticklish experience of grass between my toes, the brush of soft, warm lips against my forehead?  When I die, will I mind that tapioca is gritty, and whiskers scratch my skin?  Will I hold a smooth stone in my hand and be comforted by its cool surface, or lean against the bark of a tree, and feel it press like knuckles into my shoulder.

 

Will there be trees?  I will miss trees---branches reaching, twisting, turning, arching overhead like a canopy in the summer, or clawing the sky like a bird in the winter. I wonder will I smell the pungent cedar, or trace the outline of an oak leaf with my eyes or my fingers.

 

When I die, I will miss sounds---dominoes clinking together on the kitchen table, my brother’s fingers on an old guitar.  The laughter of eight women around the kitchen table---all related, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces.  The click of a keyboard, the suckling, satisfied sounds of a nursing babe, the distinctive chirp of a cardinal in the tree in the back yard.

 

When I die, I may miss time.  The moments that count down on the clocks in my library, the gentle, rhythmic tick and tock that march down the road to sunset, sunrise, tomorrow and the day after.  I might miss time, as the minutes and hours and days of memory indicate my life, my loves, in this earth.  But, if this is just a countdown to something wonderful, when I’m there, what will time matter?

 

When I die…

 

When I die…

 

What if every wonderful thing I dearly love in this world is only a shadow of what I’ll discover in the next?  What if the best things come after death? 

How can I miss, when I do not know what is yet to be discovered.

 

This may be the question I cannot answer, this dying-missing-longing for something past-in the face of something future-thing.  The more I ponder, the more I find questions instead of answers. 

 

I fear I may have missed the point of the question.

 

And maybe that is answer enough.

 

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