Joyce Miriam Friedman 


A Question


We are going home after a days visit.
On the threshold at the screen door between house and front stoop,
She asks ‘what would YOU do?’
What would you do
With such a short time
To be alive?

Tell me,
How would you prepare        
And how would you thrive.

Let me just say,
My sentence forgotten during my sweet sleep,
Comes slamming into the pit of my belly by morning.

The sudden crash through the wall of my,
Of all of our denial,
Has me tumbling in a free fall.
Death is coming soon they say.

But today I have no pain
And I am rosy cheeked with
Brightness in my eyes,
A spring in my step,
I go to lunch with you on a sunny rooftop deck,
Just like normal days.
How can you, Death, really be so close?

 How do I bear to drink in the glory of my garden
The breeze on my face,
The earth under my feet?

Help me to be present to life’s beauty
Even as I wonder who I want at my bedside during my Final moments.

Help me to soak in all the love that I sewed in this life
Like a waterfall of holy sparks,
Even as I wonder where my ashes will be scattered.

Help me to appreciate all the good and precious works I have done
Even as I wonder in pain about leaving my
Lost and broken girl. 
Who will help her when I am gone.

Help me to continue to go to the gym,
To sing,
To dig in the soil
Even as I carry this
Unbearable awareness.

Help me to live fully
To make myself ready
For the peaceful ending
That is coming too soon too soon.

Tell me, my dearest and oldest friend,
What would YOU do?


Joyce Miriam Friedman is a singer, pianist and writer, performing in various venues in the Boston area. Her two one-woman shows feature songs and story that combine ancestral and archetypal themes. They are stories that are both personal and universal, inspiring and transformative. Her website describing both her shows, Finding Miriam and A World Apart, is at

Joyce has been a hospital clown for 17 years with the Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe. Her clown, Frizzle, has engaged hundreds of children in various Boston area hospitals.

She is currently working on her third show and completing a children’s book.