Smiles Breaking Through Tears

Dying is a gradual diminishing and final vanishing over the horizon of life.
When we watch a sailboat leaving port and moving toward the horizon,
it becomes smaller and smaller until we can no longer see it.

But we must trust that someone is standing on a faraway shore seeing that same sailboat
become larger and larger until it reaches its new harbor.
Death is a painful loss. When we return to our homes after a burial, our hearts are in grief.
But when we think about the One standing at the other shore eagerly waiting to welcome
our beloved friend into a new home, a smile can break through our tears.
Henri Nouwen

Travelling With the Eyes of God

Travelling - seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people -
is exciting and exhilarating.
But when we have no home to return to where someone will ask us,
"How was your trip?" we might be less eager to go.
Travelling is joyful when we travel with the eyes and ears of those who love us,
who want to see our slides and hear our stories.

This is what life is about.
It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return
and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made.
When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights,
hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people ... and be happy to return home.
Henri Nouwen

As the mother's womb holds us for ten months, making us ready,
not for the womb itself, but for life,
just so, through our lives, we are making ourselves ready for another birth...
Therefore look forward without fear to that appointed hour-
the last hour of the body, but not of the soul...
That day, which you fear as being the end of all things,
is the birthday of your eternity.

Final Hours

Trying to capture those last moments of a loved one’s earthly journey.

Observing patiently,
Feeling helplessly
frustration’s pangs.
Unfolding agony
compounding misery
as life hangs precariously
in the balance.


Declining speedily,
Calling desperately
for memory’s succour.
Engaging sympathy
sustaining mercy
as death waits menacingly
in the wings


Caring tenderly,
Touching gently
fevered brow.
Hearing spiritually
bringing clarity
as angels sing triumphantly
their welcome song


Releasing into realms unknown

Alec Depledge

When I am Gone

Death is nothing at all -
I have only slipped away into 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 in 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 unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near, just round the corner.

And all is well.

Henry Scott Holland ~ 1847-1918
Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral ~ London. UK

It is not darkness you are going to,
for God is Light.

It is not lonely,
for Christ is with you.

It is not unknown country,
for Christ is there.

Charles Kingsley

Of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven;
Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God's hand;
Of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air;
Of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality;
Of passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm;
Of waking up, and finding it Home!

Robert E. Selle

Let your children be as so many flowers,
borrowed from God.
If the flowers die or wither,
thank God for a summer loan of them.

Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)

for more on grief see:
Bible Verses Reflections 7
Bible Verses Reflections 11
Poems 10
Stories 4
Bible Verses Mourning