borrowing bones

The occasional weblog of writer Dora Dueck

Category: Death

A string of December thoughts

I meant to gather some reflections on winter, sew some meaning through them as a Christmas wish for you, my readers, but already I know I can’t pull it off. So how about I just hang a string of disjointed thoughts (in mostly muted colors) and thank you in advance for receiving them as is.

A Child’s Death

On Sunday we got the terrible news that our nephew’s nine-year-old son in Paraguay (where my husband’s family lives) was killed in a motorcycle accident. How these things happen: the father and his son riding home after a bit of a visit elsewhere in the (farming) village, the mother emerging from their driveway in the car at the very moment they reached it,  he braking, the bike flipping and the child was under it and with a last gasp his life ended. The funeral was this morning. The father is the age of our oldest son, they played together when we lived in Paraguay, they have children the same age. “There are no words I can write that will make this better,” our son wrote his cousin, “but please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.” There are no words indeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Memento mori

I’d like to have my papers in order when I die. It’s about sparing my loved ones, of course. (Or is it actually to tidy me up? Didn’t our mothers say you should change your underwear, just in case you landed in an accident?) So I’ve been making periodic stabs this year at the journals, files, boxes of research, projects in their various stages. I got rid of that pile of index cards on which I traced the chronology of a man about whom I was tempted to write a biography (a better one than existed, I mean). I dumped a few folders of articles I’d clipped that, seriously, I will never use. I transcribed a year of diary.

Alexander Nevsky Monastery cemetery, St. Petersburg

Lately, the call to review and pare seems urgent. But sometimes I’ll be struck by the fear that thinking about death and acting in this anticipatory way is some kind of signal that it’s just around the corner. Read the rest of this entry »

Guest post: When Lent coincides with dying

Leona Dueck Penner

Leona Dueck Penner is a long-time writer, especially in Mennonite media. Most recently, she was national correspondent for Canadian Mennonite magazine. She and I were in a writing group together for several years and the friendship formed there has continued. I’m so pleased that she is willing to share her reflections on Lent as a guest post here: 

When M. asked me what I was committing to or giving up during Lent this year,  I replied spontaneously: “Well, I haven’t really been thinking about Lent very much up to now in relation to Jesus’  journey to the cross because we’re quite literally experiencing an ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’  journey ourselves, with pauses at varying stages of the cross, as my brother-in-law L.  continues on in his slow journey towards death.” Read the rest of this entry »


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