What words do we use to comfort and strengthen those who are nearing death?
May you greet each day as a gift
And look for the treasure within it.
May the story of your life hold meaning,
For you and for those who will follow.
May you have time enough to say all that needs to be said;
To do all that needs to be done.
May your relationships be healed,
And your soul at peace.
And when death comes, may it do so
Not as an enemy but as a friend.
May its presence hold no fear.
May you discover that you possess,
All that you need for the journey.
We give thanks for each person
and each moment that shaped our journey.
Each brought us gifts;
albeit some more welcome than others.
We, too, have shaped the lives of others,
in ways we may never know
We have sown seeds that may yet bear fruit
And yield a blessing.
As we look forward, towards the unknown,
there is this certainty:
We are dust, and to dust we will return.
May the welcoming earth cradle our bodies
as tenderly as any mother.
May our dying be a returning home.
May those who mourn our passing be
And may we be remembered,
and remembered kindly.
Our bodies are so fragile
Our time here is so brief
Our lives are but a single drop in the ocean of
We are known
We are loved
We are held
May our fears about our death be transformed
And may all our suffering be transfigured.
May we discover, within ourselves,
a deep well of peace
And a great storehouse of resources:
The grace to recognise the gifts that illness brings
The insight to perceive that as time shrinks in length it expands in depth
The wisdom to discern what matters, and
what does not
The resourcefulness to seek beauty, hope
and love wherever we can find them
The generosity of heart to accept, gratefully,
The courage to let go.
The whole of our lives has been bringing us to this point;
The point of departure
Do not be afraid of the darkness.
Let it enfold you like a blanket.
Your ancestors have gone ahead of you;
Take courage from their companionship.
You cannot see beyond this horizon,
But lift your eyes towards it
And steady your gaze.
Your spirit is ready for the adventure that awaits.
“Well, Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon.
Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine…
You know that I have always loved you for your beauty and wisdom…
But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey.
Endless love, see you down the road.”
Printed in The Week August 2016
Photo: Bluebell lined path, by Geoffrey Clarke, UK
May it be a great expanse of freedom.
May you rest in peace.
May those you have loved, for whom your soul aches, be waiting to greet you.
May it bring an end to all loneliness and separation.
May you know the peace of a ‘life well lived’.
May your alleluias swell with those of a great chorus of angels.
May pain, fear and all that dims your spirit be cast away.
May you run, like an excited child, into the arms of the divine embrace.