I few months ago, I wrote about my out-of-body experience (spending the evening with a couple of exes)
compliments of the University of California San Francisco Memory and Aging Center, where death and dying was discussed through the medium of poetry.
Jane Hirshfield, poet and the Hellman Visiting Artist at the center (2012-13), led the evening that left me exhausted and exhilarated.
Here’s the link to all of the poets/speakers that evening: UCSF Memory & Aging Center, Poetry & End of Life. Each video is listed separately.
I want to draw particular attention to Frank Ostaseski, Founder of the Zen Hospice Center in San Francisco. He recites a death poem written by an elderly woman (Sono) who had been homeless before coming to the hospice center to die. The poem, a gift to herself and to him, was cremated with her body.
Ostaseski starts talking about Sono at minute 12:00. The poem is finished at 15:45, but I think you might want to watch to the end.
Ashes to ashes. Let’s raise a glass and toast to our unworlding.
For after all, it is truly part of living—until we are no more.