ode to death at nautilus teachings


death happens
to us all.
the question i have is
do you want to be alone
when you die?
do you wish to be
surrounded by family?
do you want to know
when it will come
so you can
‘take care of it’
your way?
my father
who is 87
said to me last year,
“listen, when i die
you do not need to come home.
i will be cremated and put in the
mausoleum next to your mom.
there is no need for a party
or service because everyone i know
who might attend
is already dead
accept you kids…”
this was not the plan in 1987
when our mom died.
mom specifically stated,
“i am going in headfirst. make sure
when your father dies
he goes in feet first.
that way i can spend eternity
kicking him in the ass…”
i kid you not,
these were her exact words
to me on this subject
before leukemia took her life.
so now
i have an old man
who will be in a box
not a casket
i am not invited there
to supervise the
‘placing him behind the granite wall’
nor am i allowed to celebrate
his life or death…
what do i do about my
mother’s last wishes?
honestly i laugh
every time i think about
her words,
‘so i can kick him in the ass…’

when i think of my father
i think of
-the chair-
the one against the wall
he sat nightly upon
to spank my brothers
for being mean to me,
a weak man in a rickety
wooden chair
head hung low
in the darkness…
when i think of my mother
i think of her lying in the
hospital bed
fighting death
trying to climb out
all the while my oldest brother
crying, screaming
“mommy, don’t die
these are your grandkids…”
as he thrust each one into her
unconscious space
knowing he f’d up!
he should have brought his kids
home to meet their grandmother…
and all 5 of us praying
around her bed speaking
the words,
“mom, it’s ok to die…”
a chair and
a bed
and i
as their only daughter
chose up-
i left my family
after my mother died
i stopped caring what
anyone thought
of me or my choices
i rebelled at the age of 29.
they were all
correct in their words
upon meeting husband #2,
“he’s no good. don’t marry him.
i don’t like him.”
but they were words being spoken
by men i had no respect or love for
so i leaped
and instead of flying
i fell into this deep ugly cavern
of filth, lies and hurt
which was fed by a clean
bubbling sparkling brook
of bullshit
that ultimately
kept my weak
no self esteemed self there…

which brings me back to death.
12 years ago i decided
i would rather die alone
than in this shit hole of a life
with mr. stench man beside me.
i wanted my children next to me
when the time came
but i also knew this would be their choice
and not mine
i was not even sure if i could heal them
or have a close relationship with any of them
if i did not first
find out
who the fuck sheri was.
i let all the pungent effervescing
bubbling waters drain
i locked up my life
and allowed no one in
for over a year
i let #2 live his life
away from us
the one he had always dreamed of-
drinking, drugging, dressing
with the likes of his own kind in the keys
hired me a bounty hunter
took back everything i could
sold it all
and filled up my new surroundings
with liquid faith, courage, strength,
love, forgiveness, voice…
soon i was so buoyant
not even #2’s reoccurring appearances
and threats could harm me…
one day i will die.
thanks to faith and forgiveness
my adult children and i
grow closer with each passing year
so i am hoping when i do
suck in my last breath
they are all there beside me
sharing funny stories
about the mom that grew them up,
the mom that blew it all up
and finally
the mom she became…
oh death
who’s voice i cannot hear,
(thank God)
when the old man does pass away
i promise to fly home
supervise the opening up of the wall
and the placing of the box
upon the slider next to moms feet…
i also promise to crack the lid
just a tad
so every time mom wants to
“kick him in the ass…”
a puff of smoke with leak through the cracks
as passerby’s whisper,
‘guess that guy went out in a puff of smoke…’