On Death and Dying

Hola mi gente,
Last night a dear friend informed me that her mother had transitioned — passed away. So I’m posting the following.

Lost Horizon



A teacher once taught me the following lesson…

In the days before airplane travel became common, people traveled long distances on huge, ocean-going passenger ships. When a ship was about to cast off, the passengers would line the ship’s deck facing the pier, on which their friends and family stood. As the ship’s horn sounded its departure, travelers and their assembled loved ones would wave goodbye to one another. They would wave, blow kisses, and shout out their last farewells and good wishes.

After a while, the ship would be too far away to distinguish who was who in that great mass of passengers, but they still waved and gazed. A few minutes later, they would remain on the pier looking at the slowly disappearing ship.

Eventually, the ship would reach the horizon and disappear completely. Yet, even though the loved ones on dry land could not see their loved ones anymore, let alone speak with them or touch them, they knew they had not disappeared totally. They had just passed over a defining line — the horizon — that separates us from what is beyond. They knew that they would see them again.

This can be a metaphor for what happens when those close to us pass on. If we are lucky, we can be by their side as they transition, embracing them and saying our last goodbyes. They go off into that ocean journey that is death. They fade away from us. Eventually they reach the horizon, the defining line that separates this life from what lies beyond. After they have passed that line, we cannot see them anymore, let alone speak to them or touch them, but we know they have not totally disappeared. They have only passed over a line that separates us from what is beyond.

That lesson had a profound effect on me. I have come to believe that our lives are like a grand symphony and when a symphony is done do we lament its ending, or do we applaud its grandness? I have learned that those we love only cease to exist once our memory of them fades. In this way, those close to us who have transitioned live on as the reverberations of their actions continue to affect our lives.

So, yes, acknowledge the pain of loss because that too is real and must be honored. Remember, however, that the well that is filled with your tears is also the same well from which your laughter and joy rises.

And how else can it be?

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

One thought on “On Death and Dying

  1. With tears in my eyes I am grateful for this post. June 5th is the anniversary of my mother’s transitioning, her departure date on the voyage. I am emotionally reinforced by the truth of this post as it merges with my foundational spiritual beliefs. Again, Thank you,
    Rev. Bernard Shepherd


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