Forty-five years ago today, on November 18, 1978, more than 900 people died in the Jonestown massacre. They were Americans in a Guyana settlement named after Jim Jones, a self-proclaimed prophet who’d been once lauded as an exceptional voice and humanitarian. Jones’ followers
The life of my mother-in-law, Mum Chamberlain, is now marked in a burial plot near the shade of old trees. Recently it’s been celebrated in various ways. It reminds me of fireworks. Not that “celebration” is a perfect word for these matters. Death can still drag in its bag of
“Be well.” This is what I said to my students. It was after a recent class. Then they left for the various corners of their lives. We’d just unpacked “Cathedral,” a story by Raymond Carver. He often wrote about broken characters, broken in ways that Carver himself was broken. “Be well.” Then they were gone.
Today is a good day to talk about the vulnerable among us – the mentally ill and the disabled – and doctor-assisted death. Worldwide, only about five per cent of 195 nations allow what’s known in Canada as MAiD, or Medical Assistance in Dying. The World Medical Association also
I’m gardening with my son, the cool, wet dirt between our fingers. I think of John, my friend, a fellow traveller, recently dead of cancer. He’s still somehow, seen. Still felt.
Funny how that goes, how you often miss what’s right in front of you. Then, when you take the time to pause, the smelling salts of life get you to sit up and do what your mother always told you: pay attention!
It was a question after dinner. The kids asked me. “So, Dards, if it were possible, would you rather know exactly how you’ll die, or when you’ll die?”“Hmm,” I said. (Always a good response for such questions.) “I don’t know.” (Even better.) What I know is that, like many others, I’d rather not die alone. Imagine dying alone
The young lady was my heart’s desire. She was my long-time prayer. This, when I was a much younger version of myself. It was on the 11th day of the 11th month when her letter arrived. She wrote briefly and dispassionately. Her words drained the room of colour.
I walked through the cemetery today. I often do. It was me and the cold and the wet and my old umbrella.
The umbrella is covered in deco of old newspaper headlines: the Jays won the World Series; Gorbachev was dismantling the USSR. My umbrella and I blew around like the news