Inspired by Mary Jo McLaughlin's "Dancing Shoes."
Death has been trying to get me to dance for quite a while. It has presented itself in other people’s dying, inviting me in to witness the choreography so I’ll be aware of the steps. I have continued to say no. I am a lousy dancer, I mix up my left foot from my right one all the time, the witnessing does not aid this in anyway.
I’d very much like for death to stay away, the reality is that it is looming. Yes, I know we are all terminal and yes, we never know when that moment will come but I have hearing the warm-up music and I hate that tune, refuse to learn how to even hum it. It helps that I do not have an ear for my music like all of my children do.
I have struggled to not to succumb to the seductiveness of death. I have come close as I imagined the last days, the things I want to say, do, eat and also not feel. I have imagined the aftermath of my departure, those who I love, their pain, their moving forward without me despite it all.
But I am not ready. I would much rather spend my days learning the steps to the dance of living. I may never be an excellent dancer, I may never be able to carry a tune well, but the joy of learning the continual newness of that experience is where I want to place my energy.
So, for now death can go stand in a corner and wait to be asked to dance.
Thérèse Hak-Kuhn is a mother of six incredible human beings and an activist in birth and social justice issues. She has been honored to help so many to enter into this world and to walk with those who have left this realm, the profound similarities informing her own existence. She has written many books, all in her head. She loves her life and that it has offered her, which is a a hell of a lot.