Rest in Peace

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

It’s the most widely used phrase when someone dies; a true mark of respect.

Too often, though, and I’m sorry if this might offend some people, it suggests that the person (who may have lived a long and full life) didn’t have it all their own way during their mortal existence.

What do I mean?

Well, at the very least, there were times where they didn’t enjoy a calmness of spirit, equanimity and grace that should have been their right.

As generalisations go, this is a big one, and I can’t possibly comment, let alone commit to knowing anything of the sort but of the people I’ve known, who are no longer here, so many of them haven’t been at peace with themselves (Who am I? etc.) for long, interminable periods of their life. And to be clear, I include myself in that cohort — albeit that I’m still here. Few talked about it but perhaps they didn’t need to because, from the way they lived their lives, or the trail of existential angst that hung in the air, it was clear that things were tough — particularly when their body and/or mind began to fail them.

To my mind, resting in peace seems a wonderful, reverential way in which to live out our days and not just for whatever is meant to happen in the afterlife — if there’s such a thing. If that’s right, I wonder why it’s not more discussed in the home, or taught in schools or even shared around the water cooler at work? Perhaps it doesn’t sound upbeat enough? More like we’re asleep at the wheel than grabbing life by the lapels and shaking her until she’s bone dry.

In my case, it’s very much on the agenda to see out my days in a quiet way. I hope, not that I’ll have any say in the matter, to find solemnity and peace and won’t have to wait until I’m no longer here when it won’t matter a jot.