John O’Donohue: What would you say about the whole thing now that you’re about to leave it?
[And this big roguish smile crossed his visage.]
The Man on his Deathbed: By Jesus, I knocked a hell of a squeeze out of it.
The Irishman’s words are goodness lifted into beauty. It is the light humor exemplified in ‘squeezing out’ that grabs our attention. Squeezing hold of life would wring it to the point of strangulation. Thus would life, yearning to maintain itself, lose itself in suffocation. How very unlike is the experience of squeezing out. Squeezing out implies that the wellspring of life supplied the exhaling one with so much life that there was, for this such a one, no more air to breathe or water to drink or soul or imagination to fill. This man, by Jesus, was so quenched and sated and goodly exhausted with life that he must go. The beautiful thing about his death is that, for him, it comes not as a terrible surprise but as the breath of the world relaxing and relaxing into itself.