Monday, March 8, 2010

By Ruth on Her 86th Birthday: A Bedtime Prayer

Since Ruth wrote the following little poem about dying, she has watched countless episodes of Little People Big World, climbed the steps of Kimball Library too many times, had a hip replacement, sung with the choir at St. John's on many a Sunday, and written approximately a gazillion words of delicious prose. She is still very much alive. Her sense of humor is responsible for much of the laughter that emanates from the Senior Center craft room on Tuesday afternoons; Jack Rowell captured its arch component in the photo above. Remarkably, in the 55 years I've known my aunt I have never been able to detect a hint of meanness in her, even though she was a schoolteacher, raised three boys, saw two husbands into the grave, and now shares her house with one of the most spoiled little dogs I've ever met. Here, she looks at death as the ultimate in a series of adventures that begins with being born. It is so like her to make her "prayer" a letter of comfort for those we leave behind:

"If I should die before I wake" (better before than after!)
I left this note for you to take.
I've done my time in this worldly place,
And now it's time to live in space.

I can't remember you, because I'm dead,
But you can remember me
I can't tell you "My soul to take"
It has gone with me, you see.

I didn't "die of a belly ache"
My time here just ran out.
So have a good laugh, keep a smile on your face,
While my ashes gaily dance in space.

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