I am often asked how Peggy Ellis is doing. You might remember, she was hospitalized for nearly three months last fall. Her husband, David Peterson, keeps sending updates. All in all, she is doing well.
But the last time I heard from David, he shared the news that he is now a published poet. He took up poetry while Peggy was in the hospital. Here is the poem that was published, written following the death of a friend:
Death should not be antiseptic. It should not smell of bleach or antibacterial soap. It should not sound of monitors and alarms and with readouts from sterile machines.
If I die in the morning, I want the smell of coffee and waffles and of bacon sizzling in a pan. I want the sound of overlapping voices, plates, cups and glasses clinking with some laughter . . . and some crying.
If I die midday, I want the smell of mowed grass and sunscreen and a pot roast being started. I want the sound of children playing, adults consoling and reminiscing and with some game or match playing on TV.
If I die in the evening, I want the smell of bourbon, maybe a sweet-smelling pipe, and of a bouquet of flowers brought in from the garden that day. I want the sounds of conversation between family and friends, with music and of doorbells announcing callers.
If I die at night, I want the sound of meditation and prayer, with the gentle humming of intimates. I want to be lifted up while being let go, and to feel the embrace and caress and breath of my love.