In Vermont, I took part in a ceremony that involved confronting death. The old story says, if you live your life like a warrior, meaning bravely, authentically, when Death comes, he will give you a gift. He will pause, and you will have a chance to dance one last time. The ceremony was intense, emotional. Standing around the fire with my friends when it was over, we heard coyotes yipping in the distance, celebrating a kill. Someone remarked, “So Death really did show up tonight.”

Yesterday I learned that a friend had died, suddenly and unexpectedly, of an aneurysm. She had been a force to be reckoned with, an absolutely larger than life singer, dancer and choreographer who loved to teach what she knew. No one could tell a story more dramatically, sing louder, or convey such a sharp and ironic sense of humor; I can still remember vividly stories she told more than 10 years ago, and they still make me laugh when I remember. 

If ever anyone was allowed the opportunity to dance one last time, when Death came, I think it would be Vicki. I imagine the dance was raucous, hilarious, and over the top. I imagine Death had never been so entertained.

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