Friday, 24 February 2012

Coming to terms with what could have been and never will be

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.

Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)

I remember first hearing this at my grandmother's funeral.  It provided me with such comfort, and still does.  I have been thinking about loss a lot recently.  My work tends to require me to.  I work with individuals who have lost so much: people who were dear to them, their physical health, their mental wellbeing, possessions that they valued, opportunities, hopes and dreams.  Someone reminded me recently that when we grieve, we mourn the loss of what could have been, rather than what was, as this is ours to keep.  It is coming to terms with the unfulfilled potential that we struggle with.


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