I was at the funeral of a very close relative last Friday. We had seen him only a few weeks ago and laughed and joked about many things. Ten days later he was no longer with us. It was not the first time a loved one had passed on.
The immediate aftermath is a deep sadness, a vacuum, something we always took for granted suddenly is no longer there, a sense of helplessness that there is nothing that can be done, it just is.
But gradually we fill that void with memories of the person with whom we shared a part of our own lives. In this way we rebuild that person in our minds and they continue to exist alongside us as long as we are still on this side of that great division.
And as we build those memories we realise that ultimately what really matters in this life is who we spend our time with and how we spend it. Love is a truly powerful emotion that builds bonds that pass way over the boundaries between life and death. Death may separate but it can never break those bonds. And our own lives become richer as a result of it.
Death is a part of life. We move on but we never forget.
By Henry Scott Holland:
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.