life ebbed … death flowed

One of the very special things about my life and role is that I get to visit and sit with people in very special circumstances when the only word I can use to sum of what has hapened, or the situation I find myself in, is ‘privilege’.

Today I sat with someone I have spoken to lots on my travels since ordination while they died. There was me, the man in the bed and his brother.

The man was 92 and even a few months ago he was still talking about ‘the old people’ in the hospice who he tried to cheer up because ‘they were old and had outlived everyone and so had no visitors.’

At 92, I guess he knew the reality and pain of that statement.

Today was not a sad occasion as such, although he will be missed and those in the room shed a few tears. I wanted to mark today by recording something about how much of a privilege I had to be included in this very intimate moment with these guys as we said goodbye and watched life ebb away as death flowed into the space.

The funny thing …. and this is always the case. I went to support and be there to help. I came away with so much more than I gave … which always seems the case in everything I do.

3 thoughts on “life ebbed … death flowed

  1. The privilege of being with people at death is something I find hard to explain to others. It sounds ghoulish but it is honest real and spiritually powerful
    Thanks for expressing this better than I could

  2. I agree, it’s well put.
    It seems harder to support a young person and the feeling of well being is guided much by how cool they themselves are by dying ‘early’. I’ve found it very challenging. I much prefer to be with an older person who is dying. However, the privilege and responsibility of supporting someone with their family through an early death is very focussing, if that is the right word. I still find it very painful though, especially where children and babies are concerned.
    Even as an embalmer in the funeral home, I felt that their little bodies just shouldn’t be there. I know that is an emotional reaction. I just want everyone to have the chance I have had at life. I consider myself very lucky. The Dekhomai prayer ‘thanks for life’ represented by the yellow bead is a sincere prayer when I reflect on this.

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