Category Archives: death and dying

Farewell William

I know a man, walking in the hills last week who stepped off the path. From time to time we may find ourselves stepping off the path too: we read the map, take in the view, eat a picnic. He … Continue reading

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A cat and rabbit case

  The alarm was a high-pitched squealing that went on and on, piercing the morning. The victim was a half-grown rabbit that had strayed into our garden. The predator was our arthritic and ancient cat, showing that her killer instincts … Continue reading

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How far would you look?

  And if you knew that behind your greatest fear lay your greatest gift… would you search there? would you look? would you? How afraid are you of dying? Behind your fear, you know it’s going to happen. Could you … Continue reading

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Not yet my scavenger friend

I came back from an early morning run through the fields, hot and tired and exhilarated with the work of it. I took off my running gear to cool down, and sat in the sun, and then in the breeze, … Continue reading

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A lamb

I walked a long way for death, early this morning, while clouds scudded above, and gusts surged in the branches. I walked to see again the spread of decay on the track, the guts and eyes gone to scavengers, the … Continue reading

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Taking life

I am not separate from those who, in the balance or unbalance of their minds, choose to end it all. I am somewhere on the same spectrum. In the balance or unbalance of my mind, I am choosing to choke … Continue reading

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Every year I rise again from the dead

On Easter Sunday a figure appeared in my inner world; he took me aside and showed me how often I acclaim myself in triumph there, manifesting as the special one. We looked at the times also that I betray myself, … Continue reading

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The bramble tangle

You need a certain amount of aggression to take on a bramble thicket. I fought a good fight with one down by the river; it was taking over the path, threatening, scratchy. My weapons were secateurs and a sickle, my … Continue reading

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A father’s prayer

And ah my beautiful children, how much I love you, and how deeply grateful I am to have had this chance to be your father, and to have loved you as I do. And when I go, likely before you, … Continue reading

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I left the door ajar for God, and Death walked in

I left the door ajar for God, and Death walked in; behind him I saw the shadowed forms of those I might once have known. In the silence that followed, I found myself explaining how I always try to have … Continue reading

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Little boy of nine

Little boy of nine, grieving for your father, I know what faces you, but only my love reaches back through the years; I cannot tell you what you must discover for yourself. He is dead, he is dead. It is … Continue reading

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So I never saw his body

So I never saw his body, waxy, white, and still; and I never saw the coffin, heavy wooden box, lifted carefully from the hearse by unknown men in black suits; and I never sat in the utilitarian crematorium chapel, and … Continue reading

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The troubled North Sea, 1942

Psalm 77 Verse 1 I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. Verse 16 The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths … Continue reading

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Snared by tradition

Snared by tradition We found the old snares in the barn, thin nooses of twisted wire that slid easily through a loop at the end. We were boys excited by the possibilities of action, and the long tradition of the … Continue reading

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Sometimes it’s very hard

Sometimes it’s very hard There are some hard tasks in life. I know a woman whose husband has died. On New Year’s morning she has to go into her young sons’ bedroom, and tell them. That’s hard. Fresh from the … Continue reading

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We tend not to think it will all be over

We tend not to think it will all be over The holiday is over; packing up to go home is relatively easy: just stuff everything there is in a few bags, no decisions to be made. It may be even … Continue reading

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Molar moving on

Molar moving on So farewell then, lower left four, small molar; drilled, filled and chewed with over many years; now cracked, broken and infected, you have reached the end before the rest of me. I feel the dentist working at … Continue reading

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Contemplate the face of love growing old

Perhaps you are fortunate enough to be able to visit your mother, who has become very old, and whom you love deeply. As you stand in the doorway of the room, she looks up to see you, and her face … Continue reading

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Cupped hands

Under the hanging moon within the distant thumps of waves I wander the empty streets of Staithes The remnant drinkers in the pubs cosy up to the bars the surfers, satiated on big barrelling waves, dream in their vans generations … Continue reading

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The promise of the depths

 Here is not a puddle for a toddler to stamp through, or frothy rapids for excited adolescents to scream in. Here is a pool in the bend of the river where we swim together.   We leave our clothes near … Continue reading

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