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Walking Each Other Home

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

What do dying people want?

A few days before her 61st birthday the writer Anne Lamott wrote a list of twelve things she knew for sure, and shared them on a TED talk. I watched it and took notes . . .

Anne’s twelfth point is about death. Her deep and meaningful words about this timeless subject are:

Wow and yikes!

I jot down this phrase, not wanting to forget it.

Then she quotes the spiritual teacher Ram Dass:

When all is said and done, we’re really just all walking each other home.

What a simple, beautiful summation of life.

But I forget it sometimes. I don’t figuratively walk beside the dying. I argue with them.

Oh, you’re not going to die! Before you know it you’ll be

fishing for barracuda off the coast of Spain.

Or I make a joke:

Don’t be silly! Another week and you’ll be back home

driving the neighbours nuts with your leaf blower.

The dying person sighs, wishing I’d drop the high-pitched, lighthearted chatter. What they want is my silent, mindful presence while they negotiate a new path that holds secrets they hope they’re ready for.

When it’s my turn to take those last few steps, I’d like someone to be there to walk me home. To wait respectfully by my side while I raise a hand to knock on the door I’ve been walking towards all my life.

With love, Marlane

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