Death Song


Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”—


“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”



I ponder a lot these days.  That is what old men do.  Usually, though, we ponder silently.  You don’t want to hear our song, and even if you did, you would only hear the words, and not hear the joy nor the pain.

Not that I am anywhere near the point of death.  But if I go by the actuarial tables, I had best not make any plans more than ten years out.  So, my friends, do not call suicide prevention.  Please!

I often do daydream about a long life, one with strength and power, and indeed, a lifelong unpublished novel I have been working on is a take on such a man.  But lately, I am beginning to realize that death is a gift from God.

I am soul sad and weary, content to be an Elder and not a leader.  I am selected open the ark and hand the beloved Torah to another to carry.  I have lead a blessed life with a blessed woman.  There is no other woman in this who would be as loyal and caring toward me as she has.  But it is time to write my death song.  Cool.  Now to figure out what a death song is that I can lustily sing as old Thanatos gracefully swings his scythe.  It is sort of like whistling while passing by the graveyard, I suppose.

There was a time that I silently bore grief with a clenched jaw and a dry eye.  I did my grieving alone and in silence, with perhaps a little defiant rage.  But more and more I weep with resignation as I ponder the futility of it all, each spark of life just dies with no choirs of jubilation, no grand musical theme.  The choirs and magnificent orchestrations are for the living.  Every man ultimately dies alone, and that is the tragedy.

Yeah, I have a hope in a hereafter.  But that is a hope.  If I have misplaced that hope, then as St. Paul says, I am the most to be pitied.  All my guilt, all my piety has brought me nothing.

But I digress.  What song will I bravely sing to death?


1 comment:

  1. We have strange genes. Yes we were given those nasty bad cardiac genes. Yet on Granny and Pop's sides of the family most of their siblings lived well into their 90's and quite a few lived to be over 100. On Dad's side those who did not die early of Heart disease or cancer lived into their late 90's. So you may have a little more time to compose your song. You can take as as bad or good as you will. LOL


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