Sadness sears my soul today
Words will not come for tears
Greyness shadows healing light
Lost in a darkness I fear to name.

Death must come and come it will
Loss and grief the price we pay
For the giving of our hearts.

I look at you and see our parting
I look at you and sense your absence
I look at you and I am lost
Already mourning.


This afternoon my father came to me and we spoke of his death. We were not being morbid. He has had three strokes in the last two years and fought back courageously from them like the strong exceptional man that he is. However, at the age of 81 with vascular damage to the brain and a series of epileptic fits caused by the strokes, we are all aware of time plotting against us. Better to speak of such things now than regret the silence when there is no more time together.

We spoke of practical strategies for helping my mother through her bereavement and I gave him reassurance of my willing commitment to care for her as and when the time came for this to be necessary. We spoke quietly and calmly as though discussing business, something we have done together for as far back as I can remember. We could feel the deep
emotion underlying our pragmatism but we knew that this was not the time.

We have expressed our love for one another every day and we have made our farewell in preparation for what may come so suddenly that there will be no time to say the words. There is a greater tenderness between us although we have always been close.

It is a bitter sweet time of our lives, but one that I am profoundly grateful for. I have been given the time to be at peace with my father, to truly express in word and action, just how much I love him. I count this as a blessing. In my heart I know that this is part of the cycle of birth and rebirth , that for me there is no death, just a temporary parting of the ways.

It will not diminish my sorrow nor will it shorten my grief, but it will make some sense of it and it will be more bearable. When we talk about his dying and his death we claim this as part of the natural process of life, bringing light into what would otherwise be darkness. It strengthens and prepares us for this new journey.

None of us is given the knowledge of when we will pass from this life. What we do know is that parting from those we love is inevitable. From the moment we give our hearts, we contract to face this moment, whether it be in our passing or in theirs. We can chose to face this openly and honestly or we can hide away from it and deny ourselves the gifts that it brings?

Death becomes the great taboo subject that we cannot and will not talk about. In doing this we deny ourselves the grace of living fully in the light and we deny ourselves the peace of a parting that has been prepared for.

Life is a wondrous glorious gift, to be lived to the heights and depths of our beings. Death is the shadow that illuminates the light of this gift, giving it intensity and meaning. It helps to focus us on showing our love instead of simply feeling it. What was hidden is stripped away and revealed.

All that we have avoided facing and dealing with in our lives comes bubbling up in the journey of bereavement. Knowing that we will die, that our loved ones will die, gives us the gift of reconciliation. Guilt is a destructive and useless emotion if it grips us in its strangle hold when it is too late to say "I am sorry", or to ask a question that torments us, or to say "I love you" or "I forgive you".

So my dear friends, I ask you to look at death with new eyes. Take the opportunity to use its gifts. Show someone you love them by your words and action. Don't just assume that they know how much they are loved. Tell them and show them.

Ask the questions that you need the answers to. It may not be what you want to hear but at least you will know and the dialogue once opened may lead you to riches far greater than you could ever have anticipated.

Should you have been the occasion of harm to another and you have not made your peace, now is the time to let go of pride and fear, to reach out and say from your heart "I am sorry for my part in this; forgive me". You will not always be forgiven but you have made the first step by releasing your own guilt.

Should you have been wronged then find the healing that comes with forgiving. I know how very hard this is when the hurt goes deep and the words just will not come. Take a moment to send love and healing to yourself and the one who hurt you. Let go of the anger from your heart and simply allow the sadness to seep away into mother earth. There are things that happen in this world that I find hard to forgive but the sending of a prayer for the soul of the one who caused the pain is a starting point to releasing an emotion that damages you far more than the perpetrator of your wound.

So do not dwell on death but bring its gifts into your vibrantly fully lived lives. Take the time to learn its lessons and reach out in love to yourself and to those around you. Live the life you were born to live while there is time.

Love to very core of your being and pour it out to the world in all that you do and say and think.

Hug harder, kiss more passionately, speak words of love more often.

A passionate life of wonderful fulfillment is the gift of death if only we will embrace it .

“Rehearse death. To say this is to tell a person to rehearse his freedom. A person who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. ”

~ Seneca

Author's Bio: 

Maria Stepek Doherty is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist with advanced qualifications in EFT and NLP. She trained as a Positive Psychology and MindStore Life Coach.
Her practice, "A Change In Mind" is the meeting place of coaching and therapy in a compassionate and empathetic blend of corporate executive experience, therapeutic excellence and coaching skills.

Maria ended her 25 year career in Retail Management as the Board Director responsible for company wide HR practices, training and development from shop floor to the most senior Board members. She was highly innovative bringing in visualisation techniques, meditation, in house counselling, staff consultation and policy creation groups. She also participated in the Family Business Network based at Caledonia University.

She has a particular interest in helping others through their grief and also those who are confronted by life limiting illness. She is a survivor of renal cell carcinoma.