Corpse-cold

It was a phrase Uglow used in her Gaskell book and one that Ralph Waldo Emerson apparently used to described Unitarianism. It is apt to appropriate it here and now thinking as I am of the TED talks yesterday on death. And yet they were uplifting fare, such as the one about the woman who has devised what she calls her ‘mushroom soup’ to add to the ground above and around the grave of a ‘dearly departed’ so that their decaying remains become a ‘useful’ part of the future earth. Or there was the paramedic who started to tell the truth to those he attended during road accidents etc. when they asked if they were going to die. He then described the peace that came over (most of them) when they realised their end was near. Acceptance again. Accepting one’s lot but not in a defeatist way but in a beautiful resigned, yielding one. And then there was the doctor who lost both his legs in an accident, during the recovery of which a nurse placed a real snowball in his hands and his delight at that. He went on to found the Zen Hospice in San Francisco where the dead are led on a stretcher to the morgue via the garden where the other residents can pay their respects, sprinkle flowers etc. And where the kitchen is an ‘important place’ where appetites though small are delighted with ‘cookies’ and such like. Die from death he said but not from a lack of imagination. I was inspired and moved as I was when I spoke to C. but this morning I’m in the doldrums caused by fear. Fear of not being good enough to write this piece. You always do it, he says at breakfast, you always pull it off. And I do don’t I? Mostly not as well as I’d hoped but I can and will do it. Is this fear necessary? It assails me. But onward. Duties done. Time to listen and then begin. ‘Are you sitting comfortably children? Then I will begin.’ Daphne someone. He told me about her yesterday as he came in to say goodnight. Listen with Mother. Do you remember it?