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This is my time to write. Opened in front of me is the blank screen of my word processor. I sit in silence, anticipating an inner movement, something to wrap words around.

That’s it—It’s about gratitude as I begin my third year of palliative care from hospice. Despite numerous blogs yearning for my transition, I’m still very much here, still filling my lessening free time with meaningful learning, with prayer for others, so much so that I’ve outgrown who I used to be. Former interests pale in insignificance.

Helping me in these endeavors are my eye sight, my mental faculties, and ability to write. More and more, I treasure my solitude in which deep listening occurs and new topics surface. There is still much I do not know. That’s a lot to say about someone, soon to be eighty-six years old.

Inspiration seems to breathe around me with each morning’s waking dreams, with the joy of my morning helpers, and the ever-changing views outside my study windows—Even the thinning leaves of my viburnum revealing more of the empty sparrow’s nest, with last summer’s single birth.

Not having a family of my own, I often wondered what my end time would look like; its experience, one day at a time, has enveloped me within a trackless realm, has challenged my deepening trust in God’s care, and has heightened my sensitivity to life’s nuances of setbacks and joys. My place in the human family is secure. And all this change, occurring within a split second, or so it seems.

So I’m grateful to Creator God, still fashioning the woman I’m destined to become. And grateful to my multiple helpers, including my guardian angel.

As death … is the true goal of our existence, I have formed a close relationship with the best and truest friend of mankind: Death’s image is no longer terrifying but soothing and consoling. So wrote Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his father in 1788 when exhausted with chronic illness and tormented by fears of having been poisoned.

In my perception, Mozart endured a conflicted life: the compulsion to explore and amplify the then known genres of classical music and create his own—he composed six hundred pieces, still enjoyed today—with the limits of his slight body, dead at thirty-five.

As others had composed Requiems, dating from the beginnings of the Christian Mass, and as Mozart awoke to his mortality, his passion to compose his own Requiem consumed him. But the work only began in 1791, the year of his death. Completed were the Introit, Kyrie, and the first eight bars of Lacrimosa, tears that shagged my own, as found within the sequence, Dies irai, all in the key of D minor, symbolic of music of the afterlife.

Assembling Mozart’s drafts of the other six parts awaited another’s hand, composer Franz Xavier Sussmayr.

For those who grieve—and they’re everywhere—there is balm in Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, K. 626 (1791). His psyche experienced the full majesty of God’s mercy and gave expression, symphonically and chorally, to this phenomenon. We’ve only to listen with humble hearts and rejoice and be renewed. There is another way to view life’s hardships.

At 6:40 A.M., I awoke with this hilarious dream:

I’m visiting a new friend in Rome, Italy, the October morning shadowing our steps toward the square thronged with shoppers. We buy food, then climb aboard her double-seated Vesta and set off for the day—a new experience for me.

In no time, we’re roaring down country roads, my friend’s thick blond hair snaking around her red helmet, the same color as her Vesta. Her heavyset body sways with the turns of the dirt roads, and I with her, holding her girth between my arms. Merriment exudes from her spirit like splashing spring waters. My mouth aches from laughter.

Beneath ancient water chestnut trees near an abandoned farm, we stop. The hilarity continues as she tears apart baguettes, then offers me Brie cheese, with red grapes and wine. Even the ravens, strut in tall grasses nearby.

The dream’s setting, Rome, Italy, suggested the center of Christianity into which I was initially enculturated until directed to search deeper for the Cosmic Christ in all of creation. Dire compliance of the rules and regulations no longer drew fire.

October morning spoke of bright aging filled with even deeper opportunities for learning prior to my transition.

The new friend revealed Precious God, disguised as a swarthy French laborer, intent upon opening me to the laughter of living: She smelled of earth. She swept the floors of my closed mind and threw open its grimy windows to another world, the one that awaits me. No longer was it appropriate to grieve my diminishment—just watch it happen and let it go. To strengthen my resolve, she also offered me communion. And she’s still in the driver’s seat.

Composing this blog still evokes laughter …

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