At Death’s Door

As I lay there I felt Death was close, I could not escape its icy grip. The room grew cold and the light dimmed. Death, finally you are here. It is strange; in your presence you do not seem so fearful or mysterious. In your presence there is a certain familiarity, it feels like birth – only older. Arrivals feel different to departures but they are similar in a way, souls coming together or going away. Souls in transition, not at rest.

Death looked at me and I was unafraid, but still there were things to be said. What do you regret the most? Death asked.

I wish I found the courage to express myself truthfully, I wish I lived according to who I was and not what others expected of me. “Ah yes, and did you not live so?”

“No, Death – I lived to gain the respect of people I despised. I sought knowledge that was useless to living a good life; I found employment to provide a living but not a life. I loved not for its own sake but for the comfort it would provide and I travelled for the destination and not for the journey I would enjoy.

Death looked upon me and asked if there is more. “Yes, Death – there is more. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. I wish I gardened more, thought more and spoke more. My loved ones, my children – they deserved more form me. I wish I made love more and worried less about my work”

“You are not finished yet are you” Death’s statement was not a question. “No Death – I am not finished. I wish I found daring in my voice when I was younger. I wish I spoke out rather than holding my cowering tongue. I am sorry I did not speak my truth then. Oftentimes I wish I did speak out against the injustices of men, but more than that I wish I had the courage to tell someone that I loved them”

Go on. Death knew I was not finished. “I wish I had more friends. I wish I spent more time talking, laughing and sharing with those who brought colour and music and poetry to a landscape that was otherwise dry and grey. I can see that now, and I wish I did more of that”

“Oh Death I have become complacent and I regret the happiness I once had is now gone. But you have drawn near and I am ready to depart. You know my regrets but it is time to go.”

Death looked at me and for the first time I felt his kindliness. Yes I am close, and sometimes I will be even closer.  As long as you have one ounce of life left within you see to your regrets, for in them is the very essence of your life. I was merely passing through for my business is elsewhere and close by. When I return see to it you have left your regrets at my door, for you never know – this might be your last act.

Till next we meet.

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About Tom Cottrell

Tom is a struggling author, pilgrim and citizen of Planet Earth.
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