It doesn’t actually feel as though the front room has been cleaned and yet I just spent the last half an hour washing the shelves, polishing a couple of pieces of silver and removing some dust that may have been where it had lain for years. I don’t clean much. Or often. I didn’t even get to all of the shelves. These are books and in front of all the books sit the little knick knacks we’ve acquired over time. Can’t get to the books with the knick knacks in the way, though.
I removed one book and opened it at random to read a short poem (I didn’t clean the entire time) by Emily Dickinson about a fly. I hate flies. I hate spiders. Bugs of any sort do not amuse me. And, yet she took the time to write a poem about a fly. What was even more interesting was that she placed the poem at the moment of death. Not the fly’s death, but the observer’s death. I suppose, since she was writing of death that she imagined it to be her own.
Since I spend a great deal of time talking to dead people it is interesting to me to also imagine the moment of death. I can’t remember it from other lifetimes, though in past life regressions I’ve seen deaths occur. My own presumably. Once a hanging. Once blown apart on a battlefield. Once I soared in the sky above the uplifted face of a little boy. He looked up. He was running. And, he called my name. I was his mother. And, I’d just died. I suppose by then since I was flying I might have been an angel? I don’t know. More than likely my soul was free of the body and it had nowhere else to go but to soar. I felt peace.
But, I was so struck by this poem to imagine how your world narrows at the point of death. How you are no longer concerned with what was or what is to come, but are nevertheless still diverted slightly by what is happening right in front of your face. So, what if you were dying, would you want to be hearing as the last things you hear in your lifetime? What if you were dying would you like to be seeing? I think I would like to be holding the hand of my husband. I think I would very much like to hear him say that he loves me. And, I think I would be looking forward to going home.
Dying by Emily Dickinson
I heard a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.
The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnessed in his power.
I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portion of me I
Could make assignable – and then
There interposed a fly.
With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the light and me;
And then the windows failed, and then
I could not see to see.