In the month of All Souls: A reflection on dying

Image by Beau S.

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the 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.
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

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  1. This was a poem read at a funeral of a relative of mine. I wish that we could see over that horizon sometimes !

  2. I sent this to a friend many years ago. To this day, he has kept it, framed it and been comforted by it. It is a comforting and beautiful thought.

  3. I like the image of the ship and the sea...
    I use this for other things in life- other, just as big and challenging things...

    thank you for this and for all reflections in this month of All Souls-
    I haven't lost many people in my life, and those I have, have been complicated relationships- I think because of this, I avoid thoughts of them- but I have been thinking recently, that I need to have my thoughts- I need to pray about these things- these people.

    thank you.


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and PRAY before you think!