Is it righteousness or regret that we contemplate? Is there a bucket list or a mere acceptance that the quality of life is so diminished over time that we understand the demise of our physicality? I watch my mother capitulate to the last waves that wash over her breaking body, how we can predict the steps to her final resting place, someone who was once our equal and before that the first beauty to have shown her face, and by whom I measure all lovers.
Tonight, I held the head of a woman with my mother’s skull and I massaged her. I breathed her “essential oils” through her thinning hair and followed the lines of her delicate hands as I traveled them. She leaned against me and I felt my own heart and we looked at pictures of my mother when she was 18.
Sadly, I doubt this woman loves me, and so it is. Death is an acceptance of the truth; and like the arms flailing in the sand, it is a kind of suffocation that we felt when we were born: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono.
And so perhaps you are correct: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.