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From a recent response to a blog emerged this metaphor from my psyche:

Death is its own signature.

Its strangeness, almost a non-fit, perplexes me. Death’s pervading presence in all of life, whether the decay of a summer bouquet of daisies or the fading of that favorite sweater, precipitates uneasiness. Yet, death plays into the removal of undesirable character defects and the growth of self-restraint and discernment.

Another kind of death, though, has its own finality, the ultimate one we all have to face: the wrenching loss of ourselves, a significant other, or pet. Such rips apart illusions and plunges us into unwanted experiences of grief and rebuilding. Without spiritual help, warped perspectives confound the jettisoned pieces of what remain and worsen the psychic pain.

So how does the word signature play into all of this as my psyche wishes me to look into this. Contracts of all stripes, artistic works, and inventions bear binding signatures. Of critical importance are the signatures of the medical examiner or primary physician on death certificates. As yet, mine has not been filled out, only stipulated in my end-of-life care.

I, too, have signed many contracts with my signature and honored all but two: those that kept me in the convent and later, in the marriage; from both, I received a dispensation, again executed by my signature.

Still another contract looms ahead—that with Death from which there will be no reprieve—his signature will cast me into the unknown. The closer my last day approaches, the more I love my life, just as it is. Writing this blog weights my heart as another day passes. But then again, to be relieved of my symptoms and experience wholeness of a different kind—That also appeals…

In conversation with the hospice nurse, I heard myself speak the words, Dark Lover, an image of death that emerged from my unconscious, later enlarged within Isaiah’s revelation: I form the light and create the darkness (45:7) Until now, I’d not seen this comparison—both Dark Lover and its counterpart, Lightsome Lover, glimpse the same reality, intimately involved in on-going creation, both its ascendancy and decline.

Like others, I’ve experienced my share of trials that began with a difficult breech birth. Trauma from fractures and food sensitivities that developed into chronic illnesses diminished my participation in life, but in retrospect, I did manage, with Dark Lover’s guidance, though not recognized as such.

His care and protection have seen me through caustic bone pain, the monotony of learning to walk seven times, significant falls, the dullness of exhaustion. Even more has he been present in prayer—teaching me: Your will, not mine, be done.

With this trenchant insight, I’ve a new lens through which to view my present circumstances. Despite the increase of symptoms, I’m prompted to let them go, and to deepen my surrender to Dark Lover’s care flooding my aged body and battered spirit, ever in the process of depth healing.

This is working out, twenty-four hours at a time.

Grace is like ebony wetness seeping into the chinks of my terminal illness: This, too, must be transformed—and so it is, instant by instant.

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