Sometimes “It’s better not to know.”:
Either Jupiter says
This coming winter is not
After all going to be
The last winter you have,
Or else Jupiter says
This winter that’s coming soon,
Eating away the cliffs
Along the Tyrrhenian Sea,
Is going to be the final
Winter of all. Be mindful.
Take good care of your household.
During our last Thanksgiving with my husband Jim, we all knew what was coming–very soon: my last birthday with him, his last birthday with us, a last Christmas together with our children, a final family trip. His death, far, far too young, from pancreatic cancer.
It certainly would be Jim’s last winter.
But you would not have know that from Jim. Apart from a dollop of intense afternoon weariness, he joined wholeheartedly both in the feasting and in the kind of family word puzzles which yesterday so unhinged my little brother that puppy-related threats were made.
Our Thanksgiving meal was served in the 1805 room he loved, which he had adorned with a large antique table he picked out just before we had our first child. It was crowded with our children, and more.
Jim would die in the same room fewer than four months later, facing the same burnt orange walls from a hospital bed that replaced the family table he had chosen for his household.
I think for the rest of us it was better to know. For Jim it made essentially no difference in the way he lived each day of his life: he was mindful, he took good care of his household, he would have lived an extraordinary life no matter what Jupiter told him.