Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

If you aren't afraid of where you came from then fear not where you go after death

Muddy yesterday morning
I've written about a friend who was diagnosed with ALS, a very cruel disease. She shared a thought she had read by Parker Palmer about dying, from his book On the Brink of Everything. He didn't fear where he came from before he was born born so he realized he should not have fear where he was going after he died.

I thought this was a very wise statement and made much sense to me. It also resonates with me because it shows the continuum of life-but that life is entwined with a million deaths and rebirths. We are constantly dying–our skin, our hair, teeth and bones....we walk around living but are dying passively. The flowers in the garden are alive now but are on the path of death. If we can see death as a partner in life -for me, it helps.

But goodbyes as a human are hard.

We ran to the vet on Friday for more pain meds for Muddy who has been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer at the age of 10.5. So we have been ruminating on how many more days is the right number of days for him. We are of course hanging on to each day, but it is exhausting carrying the power around of being the one that holds his final number of days in my hands.

I've done this long enough to know that things can seem manageable in pain and pallitive care one day and then the next day they aren't–and that creates a rushed, less peaceful end for both human and animal. There is nothing we are doing that is treating the cancer we are simply hoping for painless days. But on Friday he showed signs of more pain, and we added another pain pill into the mix. It seemed to help a lot.

But we are still left with the duty of asking, and answering how many days? What is one more week for him–is one more week for him as important to him as it is to us?

And so...I thought of this statement that my friend shared. She too is facing an earlier death than she had imagined due to the ALS. But if I don't fear where Muddy was before his birth, I won't fear where he is going.

Muddy and Bear yesterday