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OPENING POEM (read by Geoff Ainscow)

OH HAPPY DAY when in your presence,
my ruler, I shall die!
When near the sugar-treasure melting
like sugar I shall die!
Out of my dust will grow a thousand
of centrifolias
When in the shade of yonder cypress
in gardens I shall die.
And when you pour into my goblet
the bitter drink of death,
I'll kiss the goblet full of joy, dear,
and drunken I shall die.
I may turn yellow like the autumn
when people speak of death,
Thanks to your smiling lip: like springtime
and smiling shall I die.
I have died many times, but your breath 
made me alive again,
Should I die thus a hundred more times
I happily shall die!
A child that dies in mother's bosom,
that's how I am, my friend,
For in the bosom of His Mercy
and kindness, I shall die.
Say: Where would death be for the lovers?
Impossible is that!
For in the fountain of the Water
of Life - there I shall die!

~Rumi, The Master of Love

 

CLOSING READING (by Jane Hughes Gignoux)

I Dance Despite Death

   African: Niger Delta

I dance despite death, mother,

I dance despite death.

On my father's side is death;

On my mother's side is death.

I dance despite death, mother,

I dance despite death.

Whatever happens, I accept it.

--From "Isoko Songs of llue-Ologbo," by Philip M. Peek and N. E. Owheibar in African Arts, Winter 1971 (Los Angeles: University of California) Used with permission

 

RESOURCES FOR DIRECTIVES AND OTHER INFORMATION

Aging with Dignity https://agingwithdignity.org/five-wishes

Karen Wyatt M.D. End of Life University 

Caring Advocates http://caringadvocates.org/

The ToDo Institute http://www.todoinstitute.org/

International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care https://hospicecare.com/home/

The Grief Discovery Method https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/

Stephen Jenkinson https://www.orphanwisdom.com

Conscious Living, Aging & Dying http://www.consciouselders.org/conscious_dying2

 

BOOKS, ARTICLES, AND ESSAYS

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Still Alice, by Lisa Genova

An Insistence on Life, by Jane Hughes Gignoux

Some Folk Say: Stories of Life, Death, and Beyond, by Jane Hughes Gignoux

Gratitude, by Oliver Sacks (by going online you can find the many rich essays Oliver wrote on his dying process by looking New York Times Oliver Sacks Essays

Die Wise, Stephen Jenkinson

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande M.D., M.P.H.

The Five Invitations, by Frank Ostaseski

The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, by Francis Weller

Japanese Death Poems, by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death

 

VIDEOS, TED TALKS, AND FILMS

Being Mortal. FRONTLINE Documentary, 2015 Atul Gawande, M.D., M.P.H

TED Talk How we Heal Medicine, 2012 Atul Gawande, M.D., M.P.H.

Griefwalker, 2008 Stephen Jenkinson

Departures, 2008 Academy for Best Foreign Film

Coco, 2017 Animated Film about Dias de Muertos

 

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

What are your fears about dying and death?

How did you develop your beliefs about death?

What are your beliefs about death?

How has the death of someone close to you had an impact on those beliefs?

Have you ever been with someone at the time of her/his death?

What do you imagine when you think of your own death?

Have you prepared your own advanced directives?

 

POEMS

I Dance Despite Death, African: Niger Delta, --From "Isoko Songs of llue-Ologbo," by Philip M. Peek and N. E. Owheibar in African Arts, Winter 1971 (Los Angeles: University of California) Used with permission

The Master of Love, by Rumi

When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver