It’s coming for all of us, yet most of us are shocked when we realize that today, or soon, it is coming for us. Or worse, that it just took someone we can’t imagine living without.
Death is the topic that sucks the air out of the room; that reveals the shallowness of our dreams and ambitions; that slays us with its non-negotiability. Yet the man who is our interview subject this month, Stephen Jenkinson, says that death is actually the cradle of our love of life. The grief it causes us is “the midwife of our capacity to be immensely grateful for being born.” The wise ones learn from the inevitability of death to be fully alive before they die.
So, this issue of The MOON examines how to live our lives so that when death comes for us we have no regrets. And how to care for the memories of those who have died before us so that the circle is unbroken between this world and the next.
Our interview is with Stephen Jenkinson, aka the Griefwalker for his work with dying patients. Jenkinson is the founder of the Orphan Wisdom School, which seeks to address the failure of our culture to teach us where and who we came from, to pass on meaningful rites of passage, and instruct us “how to live with each other, or with the world around us, or with our dead…” We also share an excerpt, Angel and Executioner, from his wonderful workbook, How It All Could Be. Perfect for deeper contemplation and conversation on living and dying consciously.
We also have powerful memoirs this month from writers who have lived through the deaths of loved ones. In Ways to the end, Kim Brookes explores the deaths of her partner and mother-in-law…and what she hopes for her own death, as a result. Kimi Ceridon describes standing vigil for 10 days prior to her mother’s death–earlier than it might have been, due to the lingering effects of domestic violence. Audrey Addison Williams writes in I am dying of our collective losses…and the peace that comes from “going into the pain without resistance.” Lucinda Cummings shares How to Live Through the Sudden Death of Your Beloved Son. And Charlotte Sulick writes of the dry-eyed funeral of a relative who was Unkind.
We also have EIGHT (!) wonderful short stories this issue: Gerald R. Stanek’s Skylight; Alexander Kemp’s A Private Pain; Violet Benge’s Sage; Charles Edwards’ Ghost; Nicholas Johnson’s Your Big Day; DL Shirey’s Assisi Terminal; Brian Schulz’s Stories of La Palette; and Wayne Faust’s Sailing Home. And if you thought THAT was an embarrassment of riches, we have contributions from TEN poets this month: Bill Arnott on the deaths of a boy, a father, and a friend; Anna Cates shares four triolets and two other poems; Joe Cottonwood writes of death and the spirit; Sally Sandler and Rizwan Saleem write beautifully of almost unbearable losses; Janet McCann writes of the living who let the deaths of others touch them…and those who don’t; Ginge Shontell writes of waiting for death; Margaret DeRitter leaves instructions for her funeral; Warren Paul Glover describes how a regretted suicide attempts colors his life as a survivor; and Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchich shares a dream of her dead aunt…Plus, dear Readers, you’ll find Movies You Might’ve Missed, MOON Shine, and a TED talk in Gallery.
As always, I am so grateful to the talented individuals who take the time to observe, feel into, and share their life experiences–or their creative imaginings–in these pages. It is an honor to read and provide a platform for their work! Readers, if you, too, value The MOON, please consider a contribution to keep her shining. There are two ways to contribute: via our secure PayPal link, or our Patreon page, where you can become a continuing supporter of The MOON for as little as $1/month. And to you beautiful souls who already support The MOON, thank you! You will forever inhabit a special place in my heart.
Photo by Miguel Bruna for Unsplash.com