Today's show reminded me of my mother and how she died. Just as Frank Lilley said on the show, I wanted to learn from my mother how to handle the process of dying and death. As I listened to and observed her in the weeks before she died, I took note of things she said. One night, I wrote a poem incorporating some of her words and phrases from poems that she and I remembered during that time. I read the poem to her as a way of letting her know what I was learning from her. I also read it at her memorial services.
Emily, like you, I did not stop for deathuntil it, kindly, stopped for me.Six months to two years, the doctors said.I opted for the latterthank you very much.For I had promises to keepand miles to go before I went to sleep.I did not rage against the dying of the light(although, to be honest, at times I did.)Courage and dignity and grace, like Papawas my mantra.At times, that cough kept aggravating me.Teresa, do I have a cold?You smiled, ruefully.Lung cancer, I answeredto spare your having to reply.Other than that, Mrs. Lincolnhow were things?Children, you pampered mewith strong coffee, fruit cobblers, and hugs.Peavine, you raced inand lay beside my bed.Friends, family, you sent cards, flowers, paintingsand a song written just for me.Julia, you called and told me to wait for you, up there.Where else did you think I’d be?
That business of dyingI recommend itbut not highly.
Deborah CromerJuly 2009based on the words of Pamelia Sale Cromer, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas
More information about text formats