Read this at my funeral, please

One of my favorite poems is “Otherwise” by the late Jane Kenyon. It’s a live-for-the-day and be grateful poem that reminds me to appreciate the little things, the everyday. I have it posted on my wall at work:

Otherwise

Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

I asked my friend to read it at my funeral, when it will be, well, otherwise. A few stage directions for her to refer to here: read slowly and clearly, sniffling at appropriate intervals. If you can manage it, drop to your knees and yell, “Why???” Thanks.

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