Is death timeless or an infinitesimally small point in time? Is death an event to be experienced? To be witnessed? Often, death is public. Sometimes it is a private event. Some people seem to wait until everyone has left the room in order to die alone. Others are happily surrounded by loved ones at the moment of their passing, sharing the mystery.

Medically speaking, in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and elsewhere, we find descriptions of a number of phases of death and dying. Death is an ever-present part of living. The threat of death is a cloud that hands over us all. It has also been described as a presence that lingers behind our left shoulder.

Since the specter of death never leaves us, it might be considered timeless. Since it comes to most of us but once in a lifetime, it is also simply a moment in time. For those who seek to explore this mystery, I offer this musing.

I am Death
With each passing breath
I am Life
With each new breath
I am decay and renewal
I am joy and sorrow

I am Death
I do not wait
I am infinitely patient
Time is marked
At the moment of my passing
Then forgotten

I am Death
The measure of Life
Just as dark
Is the measure of light
Even the mountains
Rise and fall