It might not surprise you to know that I think about death these days. More than sometimes, less than every day, but not infrequently.
Actually, that has always been so – that I think about dying. Maybe not as pointedly as now that it is almost close enough to touch but it has shadowed me for all my years. Maybe yours too.
For most of my life such thoughts were accompanied by heart-pounding fear and for two or three decades, I pretended I was the one immortal. You would die, but not I.
Of course, such fantasy is unsustainable past middle age even without a terrible disease. Psilocybin late in 2017 smoothed out the rough edges of my dread. (It really does do that).
Or, perhaps living with a terminal illness for three years now one comes to think of death as a not unfriendly visitor – even, at times, a companion.
There's a book about that – about death being a not unfriendly visitor. Cry Heart, But Never Break is classified as a children's book but as with many of them, writing for children sometimes seems to be a way of reaching adults more easily.
I had given my original copy to a friend with a young daughter but recently realized I want to read it again (and, probably, again etc.) so I tracked down another copy online. (Not so easy these days; it is often out of stock.)
It seems to be about how to say goodbye to loved ones who die – and it is that. But it is also reassuring to the one doing the dying (to me, anyway). It is written by Danish children's author, Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Danish artist, Charlotte Pardi.
Here is a reading of the book I found on YouTube:
Of course, death in inextricably linked with life along with the reverse, and The Fall of Freddy the Leaf makes that clear. It is written by the late Dr. Leo Buscaglia who died in 1998.
A friend dismissed Freddy the Leaf as sappy and unoriginal. But you know, death itself is unoriginal – it happens to all of us, even planet Earth itself eventually, and in my current predicament, I find it soothing to read.
Here is a lovely and well-done reading of The Fall of Freddy the Leaf from YouTube: