Death Is Not The End
The dying will often name the simplest of pleasures as that which they miss the most: a walk, conversation, lunch with a loved one on the patio. The gravity of these gifts when all is well, or close to well enough, easily escapes notice. Then, when the end is no longer a distant thought but now a nearing reality, the world comes more clearly into focus for what it is: not only mystery but grace, not only toil and trouble but the evanescence of something wholly precious. Though transience makes a ghost of each moment, and the destiny of every experience is its disappearance, as John O’Donohue once put it, the spirit of what was remains. Loss never leaves you. All the people you have ever loved, all the places you have ever been, even in their absence, each leaves an impression, an indelible imprint, the unmistakeable mystique of a lingering presence. This presence, at times, is apparent to the mind, though quite often the lingering prefers to lurk in the shadows of consciousness, cloaked and free from attempts to mold, manipulate, or otherwise “do” something with it. There in the secret places, the touch of each and every encounter instead has a way of molding and shaping you, every sun-kissed afternoon still lighting your path, the dark awe of a star-struck glance at the heavens above, however brief, still deepening the well of soul, the son or daughter you thought you lost, a beloved friend suddenly no longer there, abiding still. They are there but not there. They are gone but not gone. They are in you, animating, and influencing, every word, thought, and deed you once mistakenly believed to be yours alone, a living remnant that no one and nothing can erase, not even time.