The Best Way to Die

A Poem by Kelly Dean

We seldom stop and take a tick to think about our death

How best we’d want to leave this world, to take our final breath

It’s often said at night, in sleep, might be the better way

But not for me; how would we know the difference from the day?

Some think to end their life might best be done by their own hand

To pick the day and moment once the beach has left the sand

To take account of all they’ve done and tallied out their score

And realized they’d checked their boxes, nary need no more

It is indeed the pain of death itself, not death, alas

That makes us wish for painless death, no matter how it’d pass

But if there’s logic to that notion, any way might do

Nay, quick is fine but unawares and mysteries won’t do

No just a smidge of joy and happiness before it ends

Seems far more apropos before the coda nature sends

To single out one’s greatest joy and disregard the sum

Then replicate that moment just before the quickness comes

It needs to be a special thing that means something to me

A moment caught in time at which I feel at peace and free

A calmness so sublime and so complete it makes me laugh

Out loud, in tears, in happiness because it’s rarely grasped

I’d want that moment personal and not a thing that’s shared

For no one’s going to follow me, so that would be unfair

Alone is how we leave this world, one way and not another

So dwelling on past times at death seems moot as any other

The birth of my first child is not a thing I can repeat

Nor lying down in love and sharing someone’s heartfelt beat

Besides those kind of things aren’t things we ever do alone

And culminating in one’s death might leave that cold as stone!

So given all of that, a special moment stands in time

When everything was perfect, calm, so peaceful, so sublime

When nothing seemed to matter, all was well within my mind

The fear, the pain, the thoughts, the loss were all left far behind

While swimming in a pool one day there came this gentle storm

With cooling, tapping raindrops on my head, yet I’m still warm

Some steam arises from the water, droplets dance the surface

With peaceful tittering in rhythmic sounds defying purpose

I’m all alone just floating there, I pray it never ceases

As rain increases, water dons my face in sheets and creases

But in the spaces in-between the raindrops leave me air

Like spaces in my life between the joys, the loss, despairs

And like those spaces in-between the thunder too comes late

It’s parted from its lightning friend in gaps without its mate

It’s in those gaps one’s life could end from sky-borne bolts of light

But seldom do I care; instead, I close my eyes in spite

And floating in such water must be like my mother’s womb

Her gentle movements sounding much as gentle thunder’s boom

The pattering of trickling water sounds about my ears

As steady heartbeat’s rhythmic ticking soothe me from my fears

I don’t mind breathing in those spaces, having been a fish

Once floating in her sloshy pouch and breathing as I wish

I’m sure these notions might be why I like to swim in rain

It emulates the sanctity I felt before the pain

And without warning with my eyes sealed shut the lightning scores

And takes away my life most when I feel like living more

That surely would be better than to simply die in sleep

As peacefully I float and laugh in joy and soul to keep

Yes all the elements one needs to end one’s life in peace

Are there with me alone while floating calmly at life’s cease

I can’t imagine any better way my life should end

Than suddenly to stop in peace much like it once began

(Dedicated to the manatees)

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