I had a strange dream last night, or rather, early this morning. (I’ve heard those are the most important ones, the dreams you have just before waking in the morning.) In this one, I was dying. And I was watching the process progress very very slowly. First my toes were turning blue. Actually on just one foot. The other ones were still just reddish pink. I was very tired and calm. And I kept asking my tai chi and traditional Chinese medicine teacher, Dr. Wu, if this was okay. He reassured me, the process is natural. But then I thought I was too young to die and my body is very healthy, strong. So why now?
In the Tarot cards Death is about transformation. Letting go so change can happen. Something new is born because something dies, something is discarded because it is no longer necessary. It is never too late, or too early, to change.
A friend gave me a wonderful book for my birthday: Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill. The writer is in her late 80’s and talks very directly about being old. What it feels like, what decisions she made along the way that led her to being where she is now. Her path is very different from mine. She chose not to commit to “relationship”, not to have children, to be more devoted to her work than to family. Her honesty about her life is refreshing: the loneliness and limitations of being old and alone. She tells her story with cheerfulness and intelligence, knowing her choices may be different from someone else.
In the Buddhist tradition there is a reminder: Death comes without warning. One must be prepared. Of course, few of us plan when we are going to die. It just happens. Like birth. And like life. And change.