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Parting is such sweet sorrow. Saturday July 20, 2013

I've said before that I'm a bit hazy about heaven. But an image that does keep on reoccuring for me is one of a five barred gate set in a stone wall, a lush meadow with cows grazing on the other side. Fat cows, with udders swinging and tails swishing, their coats gleaming in the sunshine.

I think I shared this image with my uncle, who died yesterday. A gentle, unassuming man, he left quietly, in his sleep, causing as little inconvenience to anyone as he possibly could. He even timed it perfectly, attending his youngest brother's 70th birthday celebrations the previous Sunday, but ensuring that he departed well before the busyness of harvest: a farmer to the last.

I loved my uncle. We lived with him after my father (the middle brother) died. He helped bring me up. He was always there, a faithful, steady and wise influence in the background. And the glory of being well at the moment is being able to feel the love and the grief, the sorrow and the loss.

Many people mistakenly believe that depression is feeling miserable all the time. Often it's not being able to feel anything at all. But sorrow is the counterpoint to joy and grief is a natural part of our human experience and emotional repertoire. It's right that we should feel it.

So I am thankful to be able to grieve and to fully experience the whole mix of emotions that bereavement brings. Because there's joy and gratitude too: not just for the man he was, but that he was allowed to go with dignity, without having to leave his beloved farm, to suffer the indignity of hospitals or a residential home.

And because he was a deeply devout man, I have no doubt that he is now, with his Saviour, leaning on a five barred gate in the sunshine, contentedly looking at cows.

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Anonymous Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 7:38am

I am very sorry for your loss but also glad that your Uncle had such a lovely death. He must have been a wonderful chap. Jennine

Anonymous Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 8:10am

So sorry, Mary. But glad that you are well. It's a lovely tribute to him that you paint. Bless. Everything that you write is so true, i think.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 8:39am

Thank you for this.
You have made me smile and cry, as recent memories have flooded into me.
Thank you for helping me to feel.

Eileen Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 9:04am

I am sorry for your loss and happy for your wonderful memories of your uncle and his good passing. Thank you for sharing this with us. Go well today.

fionaran Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 9:05am

Thank you for sharing your loss and your clarity of thought and feeling.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 9:28am

Thank you for this sweet post, Mary. I'm sorry for the loss of your uncle, who meant so much to you, but it is comforting to know he died so peacefully.

As a devotee of Krishna, I smiled at your image of heaven, with the cows! Here is a depiction of our understanding of the spiritual world - our true home - complete with cows!

Best wishes,


Anonymous Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 9:42am

A beautiful true story. Thank you for sharing. And spot-on observation re depression.

Julia Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 9:50am

Yes i agree spot on about depression. We often think that maybe we can't and don't experience the same genuine happiness or sadness that non depressed people feel. But the death of someone close makes us realise that our emotions are just the same. It is a complex issue though.

Denisethemenace Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 10:31am

A good man, a good life, and a good death. That's a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to miss. Thank you.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 10:53am

This is a lovely moodscope message. To be able to feel natural emotions that life's events bring us - is as it should be. I see that as well as feeling loss of your uncle, you are celebrating the fact that he was in your life and was also such a lovely person. God Bless.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 12:07pm

I am sorry for your loss Mary. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Thank you for sharing the warm feelings you have towards your uncle and talking about who he was.

rosbunneywriting Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 12:29pm

This is very timely, arriving just as we are about to lay my ex-husband to rest (the only man I ever loved, the divorce not being my choice, and my 3 children's father). Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 12:53pm

I am so sorry for your loss. I was struggling not to feel sadness this morning. Now I am going to allow myself to do that.

Julia Sat, Jul 20th 2013 @ 6:03pm

Oh dear poor you rosbunney. Lots of very mixed emotions for you. I do hope you get through it all.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 21st 2013 @ 8:53am

I recently lost my mum and can feel for you when such an important care giver in your life dies.Unfortunately we can't as you say always choose the way and where we die and my mum had to go into a nursing home and not every aspect was good.I felt rather a sting of hurt when I had to read your well intentioned remark of the indignity of a nursing home,a fact that is true but hard to see written down.Perhaps I need longer to come to terms with the fact that we could do no more than we did at the time but that will never be enough

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