• Shawn McNulty-Kowal

Our Friend, who speaks of death

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

I’ve been falling asleep later than usual. They’ve ordered us into mandatory self-isolation. I’ve gotten good at this by now. People think it’s in my nature. I live in a bachelor studio and I usually feel very lonely, but now I feel lonelier than ever. Holier than ever. I just got off the phone with an old friend who keeps telling me she’s going to die soon. She turns eighty-three in August. Earlier, when we were chatting, she mentioned how we all die. What did we come into this world for? And then she asked me if I’d like to pray with her. And I said Yes.


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be

thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

on earth, as it is in heaven.


I’m trying to figure out for what I came into this world. I’ve always loved learning. And what comes after it. The longing. When I was younger, I confused strangers’ approval for my personhood. On earth, as it is in heaven. When that approval was too far out of my reach, I’d retreat to my bedroom - to be alone. The longing.


I recently spent the day with my older friend who always talks about dying. And we shared two bottles of wine, banana bread and watched Doctor Zhivago. She looked at me and said, “It is so easy to be with you.” And I didn’t tell her, but I wanted to let her know how safe I felt with her. How, Yes, It is easy to be with you too. But so much more than that.





Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.



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