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On May 10, 1788, three years before his death, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 41 in C major K. 551. Coined The Jupiter by the impresario Johann Peter Salmon, it was Mozart’s gift from the heart, despite being steeped in debt and ill. He had received no commission to compose it, his psyche ordering its composition. Its four movements resonate with the passions of his short life: eroticism, strife, grief, over-spending, intimacy, and joy. Yet, there was and is no stopping of his musical voice.

It has been wisely said that a classical composer of great music does not die, but simply becomes music. This, I experienced last night. Mozart’s compelling presence during The Jupiter helped quiet my low mood and led to deeper acceptance of my circumstances—again, the nudge from Precious God.

Excitement thrummed my imagination as I paged through the sleek book, The Wild Braid (2007) written by the centenarian Stanley Kunitz and his associate, Genine Lentine. It turned out to be a book to savor, not to read.

As author, professor, and translator, as Poet Laureate Consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, he has influenced many. His poetic voice reveals an intimate knowledge of words that opens listeners and readers to Life’s interior, replete with mystery and hardships. Paradoxically, his acute sensitivity to multiple setbacks advanced his craft, together with his dream work as influenced by Dr. Carl G. Jung’s depth psychology.

The poet’s second passion was gardening, and for over forty years, he cultivated his seaside garden at his Provincetown, Massachusetts, summer home that he shared with his wife Elise, also an artist. There, with muddied hands, he was just at home as in his basement cell—with nothing to distract him—searching for that elusive word for his next poem.

 The Wild Braid, his final publication, consists of a collage of essays and poems comparing these two passions and how they had shaped his life. Its concluding chapters barely contain Kunitz’s voice, made transparent by revelations gleaned during a close encounter with the Dark Angel, his term for death, two years before his actual last breath.

Perhaps some of the blurred photos of the centenarian in his garden speak to his still-to-be completed transition: he was here and not here.

He taught me much …

This morning, a preacher proclaimed on AM radio, “Change is inevitable. At times, Life demands it.”

His words seared themselves upon my awareness and blocked out the remainder of his text. Yes, I mused, he was speaking to me. I blinked hard, pulled myself up in my armchair, and flipped off the radio. His use of the verb, demand, stung where it needed to sting and left a gaping hole: Within, writhed glistening snakes of resistance that leered at me.

So wedded to my daily self-care routine for months, I could not imagine more diminishment that would impinge upon my functioning. That occurred with yesterday’s bout of food poisoning and the experience of a new level of sinking weakness. Slowly introducing soft foods has helped, somewhat.

But the power of the preacher’s words also caved in my denial of weight loss and daily walks and use of the NuStep at the YMCA. I thought I could fix these changes by eating bowls of ice cream at bedtime; it had worked in 1982 and 2012—No matter that sugars and dairy had triggered joint inflammations.

So it’s all about accepting the unacceptable: the physical death of my body. The preacher’s words, “Life demands it.” still goads this process over which I have no control. Resistance is futile. The only way out is through each twenty-four hours allotted me by God’s will. I’ve no other recourse. It is working …

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