“Death is nothing at all” also know as ‘What is Death?’
by Canon Henry Scott-Holland
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
What a beautiful poem. Sometimes, I wonder if people will think I’m batty (no comment from the peanut gallery, please) because I so often find myself talking about “my husband” or sharing stories about John, almost as if he’s still here. I occasionally wonder if people think, “Oh that poor dear, she just won’t come to terms with reality.”
But quite frankly, I don’t care. In my eyes, I’m still married and I still love my husband, he just happens to be in Heaven now. Perhaps over time things will change, but for right now that is my view. I haven’t seen any handsome princes come galloping to my farm and don’t expect to see any. Quite frankly, it would take somebody damn special to ever take John’s place. I don’t settle and I don’t compromise and what I had was pretty darn good!
For Nathaniel’s sake, I also want to keep John’s memory alive. I want Nathaniel to know that John never left by choice and that he loved him very dearly. I want him to know that John fought the cancer with everything he had for one reason and one reason only… to be there for Nathaniel. I want him to know how brilliantly intelligent and blessed with common sense John was. I want him to know how much John loved our family, his town, his fire companies, his friends, and his country. I want Nathaniel to know what a talented father he had. How dedicated John was to the fire service and to training. I want Nathaniel to realize that John did more living in 35 years and more important and valuable things than most people will do in a lifetime. Most importantly, I my son to know that his father lived strong and died fighting and always, always loved his little boy.
Maybe one day, I’ll be able to escape my sorrow and grief. It has only been six months and I still miss John with all my heart and soul. I do find happiness as well, don’t get me wrong. Lots and lots of happiness- in the smile and laugh of my child, in watching Nathaniel’s new discoveries, in petting a cat, in hugging a horse, quiet moments staring at the sky- watching the stars, listening to the peaceful sounds of horses eating their hay, spending time with friends, and in watching nature’s splendor unfold. I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad, but easier said than done. Someday…
So, I do, and I will continue to talk about John and he will forever and always be in my heart… and some day… we’ll meet again and I hope he’ll smile at me with that twinkle in his eye and give me a big embrace and tell me that I did a good job raising Nathaniel and that he was proud of me (proud of us), and that he missed me and he loves me always, just like I do him.