Our son, at five, has become concerned with death. How long will we live? When we die, we cannot breathe. When the time comes for us to die, let’s escape, maybe to China, or America. In the bath he suddenly throws his arms around my neck, and presses his face into mine, sobbing. He does not want me to die. If I die, he will be lonely and sad. When you die, you cannot move. I agree, and tell him if he dies I will be lonely and sad, too. This is the truest truth I know.
white cluster amaryllis
In the pre-dawn dark
our son at my bedside, puts
my hand to his face
I feel my own father’s hand
on my own face, and on back
history, filled with this love —
“On whatever the path, do not be sad about parting ways …
… Along the way, have no bad feelings towards death,” Musashi writes in the Dokkōdō. These are by far the hardest of his admonitions for me to follow.