It’s 05:00 now. I’ve set the sprinklers (for damn near the first time in four years). I’m drinking coffee too wound-up to sleep another moment. This place is filled with memories of Callista and my marriage. The emptying rooms echo, which is good for singing and prayer but not for being alone and remembering the dead. By the time the sun sets, however, my tenure in this place of death will be done.
     Most of my drum-circle will be here in about three hours to finish, nine people altogether. They will be stumbling over themselves looking for things to do. I won’t be able to keep them all busy, but I don’t think that’s the point anymore. They are here to provide me with a sense of encouraging strength and loving support as I move through the last motions of deconstructing this version of myself. Many of them feel the same urgency and can sense we are near the finish, that the chapter and book are nearly complete, that the chrysalis is about to open. They want this for themselves every bit as much as they want it for me, for in so many ways they have been here with me the whole time.
     I can hardly express how much I appreciate them with a deep, heart-felt and genuine love that is so strong it makes my throat swell to write of it. Those who will be here today: Mom, Keli, Doyle, Aisha, Curtis, Ceilidh, John, Dave, and Mike—and those elsewhere but who send their spirits in a way every bit as strong and vital to my wellbeing as those here: Lexie, Renee, Randy, and Vicki; ALL have surrounded me, and their songs of outrage, sorrow, sympathy, guard, protection, encouragement and love humbles me and makes we weep thankful tears. Of all blessings, they are the greatest, most soul-deep and comforting, far, far outshining the shadows of things lost.
     “All my relations!”

     I stand at the center of the universe.

Nothing lasts long, only the mountains;
Nothing lasts long, only the sky.


Only the rocks and trees are forever;
Nothings lasts long, what is old must die.


     I am ready to go.