I recently witnessed a man die of Aids.  His death was known, by him and everyone around him.  The timing wasn’t certain but within his last months it was certain enough that he was able to participate in preparation and be conscious about his choices.

His birthday was just a few months before the end.  Everyone understood this was the last.  Several family members and some of his supporting circle of friends also shared the same birthday. They had a long standing tradition of celebrating together.

They exchanged gifts.  What do you gift a dying man? 

One friend wrote him a song.  Another wrote a daily prayer for them to read together.  Another gave him coupons for foot rubs.  Another gave him his entire hundred thousand dollar life savings in the form of a check, post dated for a year.

At his funeral, each friend remarked on the experience of non material gift giving and the true treasure of time, attention and joy.

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