Where, O Death, is your sting?
If we increase the IV Morphene bolus
You won’t feel a thing.
There is nothing painful or hateful
About this death.
Cast your anxieties on Him —
Be anxious for nothing.
Or X units of Lorazepam will do the trick in a pinch.
So much for the ars moriendi:
The four great Last Temptations.
Only a heart can be tempted
And a heart needs a mind to know itself
And the mind is tranquilized
As a side-effect of easing
The Body’s pain.
Nothing now can be lost,
But — nothing gained.
No final furious furnace,
No last purgatorial trial,
Ergo, less of heaven won.
Not that there are many left
Who even believe this any more;
Assume its all hokum
Assume we all receive the same gold medal
No matter what.
“Yf onlye sinnes were so easily
Taken care of as Tyndall sayeth”
Said Sir/St. Thomas More
More and more and more and more
And more is less than ever before, said Mos Def.
It is less.
This death, this dying, Death itself.
I cannot see his awful face;
The grey, disgusting pallor,
The ravenous teeth.
But for a few clues—gory pictures on the news,
The severe grip of acute gastro-enteritis—
I would almost believe it was just a myth,
Some old folk-tale, created from the abyss
Of what men didn’t used to understand.
This hospice could be a Hilton.
The funeral home—a manor.
There are no screams of agony.
Should there be? Theologically speaking?
What is the difference between ‘peace’ and ‘sedation’?
If you pray for it, and a pill supplies,
What does that mean about the prayer?
Rabbi, teach us to pray.
Nurse, give us 50ml more.
Where is the Spirit in this?
Buried beneath oceans of oxytocin,
Unable to breathe,
Out of the way, we can now go after the material body,
Beating the disease to the punch.
Like some shadow-twin —
the medicine produces all the same effects:
Delirium, loss of appetite, inability to swallow,
One to four months
Ahead of schedule.
Cancer isn’t killing her,
Her care is. “I thirst”.
Minor organs self-liquidate
To provide hydration for major organs,
Until she dies.
And when she does
A blanket will be placed over her
No more to be looked at,
And then she will be wheeled to an Egyptian mortuary,
Eviscerated and stuffed.
She will be gone, to be sure,
But does this actually count as “dying”?
We need a new name, surely,
For whatever this process is
That now ushers us across the Styx.
And what means her absence,
In a world of Absence?
We already live 1000 miles away,
Out of touch via FaceTime,
So what is really lost?
That tranquilized, soon-embalmed thing,
That Dad was once crazy about,
That grew me in its core,
That carried her through her days.
Those cubic feet of blood and meat
That God cares so much about
That He died to redeem it
To be able to raise it up again
On the Last Day.
Lord, give me a real death
That I may have real Life.
Heal me, and strengthen me for the pain
Extract physic immortal from the venom
Of dying. It is finished.