March 5th, 2015


Transition -

I had the gift and privilege of supporting my friend Jane in the transition of her 96 year old mother.   I've been in Pacific Grove, a Monarch butterfly sanctuary, and home to otters and seals.  It was a beautiful passing.  i am filled with the grace of it, the gift.  How have we so separated dying from life?  There is beauty in it, fruitfulness, ripening, and expansion. There is opening, release, and letting go.

Hospice gave us a booklet to read, Gone from my Sight by Barbara Karnes.

It ends with this poem by Henry Van Dyke.

I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength.  I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”

“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.  And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”  There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: “Here she comes!”

And that is dying.

    - Henry Van Dyke