Attending to the dead
DOI link for Attending to the dead
Attending to the dead book
It was not an easy passing. The winter had crept into her body and no f ire could warm her. Her f lesh was birch with a thin f ilm of ice. When spring brought a thaw to the hills, she remained cold; her pallor a sign that she had already entered the ghost world. What food they had would not sustain her and though the f ire was kept high, death came as she slept. She had seen over thirty summers. That was how it was. No one was sure what had taken such a hold. There were no wounds, no signs. It was simply her time. From then until her funeral, her shade stood by the river, waiting for her kin to arrive from upstream. The shaman had spoken to her but she did not reply. That was often the way. Afterwards, she had been close but diff icult to see, her spirit held by the stone on her f lesh.