A re post for a friend of mine who I hope will find some comfort in these words.
I think it's fair to say that there is nothing harder in life than saying goodbye forever to some one you love very dearly and in visiting my Grandad for the one last time it struck me that how very similar dying is to returning to a new born state.
Unable to talk, tears become the main source of communication, so much can be told through tears. As babies we learn very quickly that if we cry we can tell our families that we need something and again in our final moments tears replace speech, communicating far more than words ever could, showing love, fear, sadness, gladness and gratitude all at once.
In that final visit to I spent a short time alone with him, he could barely keep awake; drifting in and out of sleep like a newborn exhausted from a full day, he too exhausted from a full life. I watched him drifting in and out of sleep peaceful, deep breathing, the occasional snuffle just like a baby, fragile and beautiful. The dying, like the newborn need comforting and caring for, they too are soothed by simple strokes of the head, small kisses, a squeezed hand, just the presence of someone who dearly loves them nearby and to whom they dearly love in return.
Those of the nigh of dying fight to live as the newly born fight to sleep- both need soothing and comforting to know it’s safe to do either. I sat with my Granddad last night whilst it was just him and I and talked to him about all our wonderful memories to which he responded with a serious of hand squeezes and tears and in the end I resigned to just singing to him softly, his favourite song Edelweiss, a lullaby to send him to sleep for one final time. I left him asleep, eternally grateful that I made that visit in time, as he never woke up again. It was like he’d held out for me to say goodbye, as I was the last of all the close family to visit, satisfied that he was dearly loved and that he’d said his goodbye to us all he knew it was okay for him to go, fall asleep.
Similarly dying, like birth, is not a cause for sadness but for celebration. A celebration of a life, a celebration of a person’s contribution to the world, a celebration of memories created and remembered, a celebration of love, a celebration of that person.
My Grandad might not be here in the physical sense any longer but he’ll forever remain in spirit in the hearts of all of him who loved him very dearly. Deceased in body but now a newly born memory for us all.
We love you very much Gramps.
In loving memory of Arthur “Keith” Brisco
24th December 1931 – 22nd October 2007