Field notes on death

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  • Published 20130903
  • ISBN: 9781922079985
  • Extent: 288pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

I WAS IN a foul mood a few weeks back. In a flash of bleak insight, I wrote on a scrap of paper: I hope I don’t die today, this would be a very bad mood to die in.

When I was a small child, death was a regular event in my life, mostly as performance and play. My numerous siblings and I would line up, the current toddler in a bulky nappy waddling along at the back, ready to bury yet another mouse or a bird found in the bush near our home. With undiluted Irish Catholic ancestry, ritual was thick in our blood. We would proceed from the backyard, along the side veranda, down to the front garden, one of us carefully carrying the shoe box with the little body laid on leaves and grass cuttings, one carrying a cross made from two Popsicle sticks, one conducting the service at the graveside. I remember it now as big on ceremony and small on feeling.

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