Two years ago tomorrow, I scanned revolving racks of cards at the train station shops.
Very half-heartedly I was looking for a birthday card for Mama who was dying at the hospice.
Mama’s 72nd birthday was a week away.
One card ended my search.
“A single day of life is worth more than a mountain of gold,” it said, quoting 12th-century Japanese monk Yoshida Kenko. Shit, I thought, spinning the card away.
It suggested she was going to lose not only her life, but a fortune.
These were my mother’s last days, it was clear, and was each of them really worth a mountain of gold still?
Some days are simply not that good, some are an agony you want to finish, whichever way possible – they’re pure toil, zero glow.
Earlier Mama had had her days worth mountains of gold. Many of them. And she knew their worth, too.
Her last ones were not among them, though.
They were so bad, she would have gladly skipped them and left sooner, no matter the supposed riches wasted.
So yes, even 12th-century Buddhist monks can be full of shit. I recognize that now.
The guy hadn’t been through dying of multiple myeloma.
It might have made him add a footnote or two to his pithy one-liner.