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Is this what it's like to be dead?

Ki, writing in July 2003:

"It's quiet, very quiet. I can hear nothing at all, not even my own breathing. Is that because I'm not breathing anymore? Is this what it's like to be dead? No heaven, no light and joy and winged cherubs with harps, and no hell either, because I don't feel the heat of a blazing inferno -- just a numb sort of darkness that seems to extend forever."

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This is the second paragraph of her short story "Too Late for the Stars"; the whole piece, plus four contemporary short critiques are still there in her Elfwood pages, the link is

I think it's interesting that one of the critiques is dated more than a year later.

"Too Late for the Stars" shows up in her work not just as a short story, but as poetry and as lyrics to a song, to which she wrote the melody and performed on her guitar.

The themes in the story come back again and again, because she is Writing From Life years before she would be taking a course by that name in college: in the story, she writes "I can't stand this darkness, not alone" and also of not being able to breathe, being alone forever, alone in the dark, dreaming of departing with a lover to a place of peace. The story is very vivid and her last days of mortal life followed the same directions. Among all her writings I think this story comes closest to what she would tell us after the missiles buried her, after her death. Imagined more than once, written here in 2003.

So, what resonates now?

We've just gone through the joys or discouraging conflicts of the death of one year and the birth of another (maybe both joys and sadnesses); tonight is January 18 and her funeral in Israel was April 18, seven years and nine months ago; we're coming up on her 27th birthday this next April 30.

This time of her year, Ki's college world was upended also, she did a radical shift away from studying philosophy in Fall Quarter to more creative-oriented writing classes in Winter Quarter, (which has already started at Evergreen for the Class of 2019, which is the freshman class now...) She had gone on Winter Break and was re-victimized sexually; she had mapped out the next seven months to include a trip to Cambodia to realize her plan "to volunteer with children and do street/documentary photography...even just a couple weeks of volunteering can transform orphanages, inspire children to continue their education, get children off the streets and away from drugs and prostitution, and more..." The orphanage girls she would have worked with, had she been able to go, were 7, 7, 9, and 9; she had been prostituting herself on the streets of Israel at 14, a school dropout. Her fundraising letter would be sent out on January 28, I was pleased she asked me for help in writing it (others helped too.)

In an email to me she wrote "I want to help kids who are like I was, living on the streets,... thinking there is no way in the world anyone loves them..."

So in our own personal times of the year, changes come as well. In my time, plans go forward for me to go back to Olympia, this time there's a difference from April and August 2008 and last October; this time the ticket will be one-way. Close by my hood are two of the best universities in the world, Harvard and MIT -- each one subway stop away in either direction, filled with new students and old ones that almost didn't make it, all clamping down with scholarly energy, studying hard and playing hard.

Lots of life.

And here on this site, people stop by and read, only a few leave a comment now and then, think the most recent was three months ago now. But we are very much alive with the memories each of us has of you.

So, no, Ki, this is NOT what it's like to be dead.

It's what it's like to be alive.

It's what it's like to be alive with hope and passionate commitment, the love and the drive you first put into the words of your stories 13 years ago, and into all your writings and later counsels, and your plans for the Far East, all your loving energies which live with us right now and always.

:Blessings Be from Brad/Silverplate88/co-Mod