Just when do you want to die?

Exactly when would you prefer to die? Soon, before you are too old? Most of us don't have a choice. I wrote this poem for Sally Bond, who died at 95 in a rest home on Christmas Day, 2014. But perhaps it will fit someone else you know. Or you and me, one day.

When?

Most of us are afraid
of a slow fade,
a late grave.

Most of us equate old age
with panic and despair
and things we could not bear.

We say, Not us! No way!
We want to be hit by a bus.
... But when?

Most of us blaze through middle age.
Much later, we mellow.
Less yellow. More grey.

And later still, we fade.
Then death is subtle
and dying is wise.

I asked my sister, When
will I be ready to die?
She answered, When you die.

Rachel McAlpine


#CC ID 2.0. (That means you can quote the poem freely anywhere without permission, as long as you identify me as the author.)

Photo: a very old pohutukawa tree. By Casley, CC ID-SA Wikimedia