Death takes everything from us, except that which is most important. By his bedside, I realize that he is teaching still – about dignity, about loving one another. Though he is but a shadow of the man he once was, his whispers stretch deep within our hearts. He leaves us, but he doesn’t.
Days, weeks pass without much change. But while he sleeps, he helps all of us see the preciousness of the moment. Old grudges fade and new joys emerge as my brothers and sisters reunite through the lens of pain. Perhaps this is Dad's final gift...
The words of Canon Henry Scott-Holland provide hope and comfort, and echo what I believe:
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way 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 always 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 effort, without the ghost of a shadow in it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is death but a negligible accident?
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 around the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!