Wednesday, September 28, 2011


For my beloved friend Lori on the loss of her beloved Mother:


If I were dying tonight,
Lying in my bed with plastic tubes and half-filled bottles
on the small table nearby
and bedpans and oxygen there to diminish any shame,
Perhaps forcing my breaths
with the strength of a desperate parent
who implausibly and frantically lifts two tons
of mangled steel off a broken daughter—
If I were dying tonight and I wished to tell you
What will astonish you,
I would tell you this:

Be sure to notice white flowers in the moonlight,
Because the softened glow is like no other.

Appreciate the lingering scent of garlic on your fingers,
Because healing is possible from that alone.

Tell the truth when it matters least
Because then you will be sure there is another honest person in the world.

Always spend the extra money for dimmers
Because light that builds in intensity and then gently fades is
good for your spirit.

Over and over, ask yourself, “What is the lesson here?”
Because then you will forever be a student and never a victim.

Never believe for a moment that the world is going to hell
Because you only need to love outside yourself to know better.

If I were dying tonight, I would tell you all this
Because astonishment is brethren to curiosity,
Which leads to observation,
And dedication,
And finally appreciation.

If I were dying tonight, perhaps there would only be minutes,
Perhaps only seconds,
To tell you that I will leave with all the love
I have ever felt, and ever given.
I will take it all with me, tucked under my angel wing—
The accumulation of grace from every breath I have ever taken.

Here’s what’s astonishing: I will also leave all that love behind,
It will be imbedded in my daughter’s stunning light and my partner’s quiet
It will guide my friends and coworkers when the layoff comes.
My brother will remember how I tried to do my share
And Joey will find someone else like me to help him tame his fears.
Even the woman at the grocery store that day I let her go ahead of me—
will remember how we were both comforted from that simple act.

If I were dying tonight, I would also tell you
That within, under, because of, and from the little moments
Comes all the wonder and astonishment you could ever hope for.
The little moments that aren’t so little.
I would tell you to let those moments astonish you.
I would tell you this because it is all you need to know.


  1. KJ...with this poem, what a gift you have given to your friend, and to us, too. One should set aside time each day, or at least each week, to read your poem and remember to live and share love...and learn from it all, and be able to leave this world...with all the love

  2. Oh kj, this is so beautiful... I have tears streaming down my face (see #8 on your list a few posts down - we have that in common).

    This is such a wonderful post for your friend Lori. You are amazing.


    p.s. I'm loving the photos of the boys (and you)!

    p.p.s. I tried the design thing but still couldn't find how to change the comment size... I will continue to look for it :)

  3. very well written... always tell the truth... and honest...and learning lessons from our failures and successes... very nice...liked it :)

  4. Amazing, astonishing poem, kj. So very, very beautiful.

  5. Pure comfort, KJ.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dear kj, thank you for coming to my blog and so invite me over to yours. You know that I also love Lori, and I envy you for having met her. Now I wish I could be by her side, but it comforts me to know she has you for a friend. What a beautiful and wise poem you wrote. Yes, it is all true. Every day that we live is precious. Thank you for this! Angela

  7. KJ, this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
    It says it all.
    I'm sure Lori will cry when she reads this, but I know she will also find great comfort in what you wrote.
    Thank you for sharing this with all of us.


  8. I like this yet I would do things differently. If I were dying tonight I would embolden the big wind to come and wash all trace of me away. There is no more need of me here.

  9. Beautiful words, kj, so comforting. I have printed out your poem and placed it with my collection of poetry for Hospice. I know it will comfort many people.

    I love this..."Over and over, ask yourself, “What is the lesson here?”
    Because then you will forever be a student and never a victim." These words completely resonate with me.

    You are awesome. xx

  10. Kj, The most beautiful poem ever. Your best! I am heart sick for dear Lori, this will comfort her for sure, it is true and lovely and we should not wait until we are dying to think it or say it, do it everyday, every minute. Love.xoxo

  11. kj, this is just such a beautiful poem. i am so sorry Lori has lost her mom. i know her friends and your poem will bring her some comfort in her sadness.

  12. KJ - That was breathtaking! It is a legacy in and of itself. You are an amazing writer lay out this kind of pain and hope in the same frame. I am sure Lori will purchase those dimmers and all the rest. I know I will.

  13. Many condolances for Lori. This is a hard one. My prayers are with her too.

    It's a terrific, from the heart poem kj.
    I, too, especially like the line of "lessons learned".

  14. teri, thank you. i know you know xo

    kristin, that means alot, ms fellow sentimentalist. thank you. i think you are amazing too.

    robyn, thank you ♥

    muhammad, thank you very much.

  15. thank you mr. bear ♥

    wieneke, pure comfort like warm apple pie with friends xo

    angela, thank you so much for stopping by. yes i love lori too. she is the real deal and i am privileged that she is my friend. a limitation with blogging that we cannot be with her during a difficult time. ♥

    ah lo, thank you.

    but your poems would remain, mark...

    that is my favorite part too, marion. thank you dear dear friend. ♥

  16. thanks annie, i hope lori feels our collective caring and prayers for her whenever needed. i know you feel the same.

    suki, it is so essential, isn't it: mothering, whatever it is and has been....

    ww, i come to hope for your approval of my words, so thank you very much

    bless you, babs. you are wonderful.

  17. wow. this just bowls me over. you have such depth of feeling ~ it is a gift to be able to communicate these profound impressions and emotions and every word of it is true.

    what a steadfast friend you are. how kind of you to to support dear lori in such a unique and giving way. goddess bless you both.

    with love and astonishment,



  18. Lovely. And yes, there is much to e astonished by in life.

    Just caught up wit past posts - love the sweet photo of you wit the new grandbaby.

  19. will thank you suffice? i'm at a loss for words. dear friend, this will be saved forever.

  20. What a beautiful, beautiful poem u have here kj!! God Bless!!

  21. You are so observant my friend. It is my honor to know you and your thoughts.
    You rock!

  22. You are so observant my friend. It is my honor to know you and your thoughts.
    You rock!

  23. Love it as much as the first time I read it. Do you feel like I do that certain words come to us that are meant to be tucked away for the comfort of others as trying times come along...they stay essential and relevant. I feel that this poem is one of those.
    Big Love, Deb