I didn’t even title this entry because I can’t even think of an appropriate title. There is more than one person I know right now who is dealing with the pain of death or impending death of a loved one. I don’t even know the loved ones or their immediate families but it’s been on my mind and on my heart. There is such duality in death, the celebration of a life well-lived and loved against the backdrop of finality.

My father, who died when I was 15, wrote a letter to our family two weeks before his death. I found it on my recent trip back home, accidentally running across it in a file marked Miscellaneous Good Stuff. He did not orchestrate his death, but he felt it was coming and it soon did. I did not see the letter until after his death but in many ways my view of and understanding of his death and of death in general were shaped by these words, and by the life behind these words. 

Do not weep over my death. I lived a lifetime preparing for it and now I have successfully completed my task. I am not lost. I know where I am going and it is far more beautiful than words ever described. 

As I was lifted up and touched by my family and friends, continue to reach out and lift others up as you journey through the adventure of life. Life has been the best preparation for death I know of. 

These people who are facing the death of a loved one will probably not see these words but they’ve been on my heart today.  And this is for them:

The Whole of a Life

I’m sad for you
You, whom I never have seen
face to face or in dream
You, in your place between body and breath
cupping the whole of a life, and yet opening
hands to death
You, standing still at branches that meet
growing from heights of a trunk whose
roots go deep
and deeper still
Praying for wind to delay
and yet,
praying it strong
enough
to carry him high
enough
for those he has loved to feel
his presence.

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7 thoughts on “

    1. There have been a couple of families I have heard of or know that are going through this and that coupled with a friend my age who just found out she has cancer made me reflective today. I hope the family you know can find peace.

  1. Kristy…
    My dad died nearly two years ago. His last words were, “It’s just so beautiful.”

    I cannot describe what a comfort those four words have been for my family.

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