Death is nothing at all
“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:). We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Cor 5: 6-8
As a child my father and I would watch “Hogan’s Heroes.” It’s a silly sitcom, but I remember how I enjoyed sitting in the room with my dad laughing at thirty minutes of silliness. Sometimes we wouldn’t say a word, but just being in his presence gave me a sense of comfort.
My father continued his journey East in 2015, to “that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” I miss him.
I found a cable channel that specializes in showing sitcoms from the 1960s and 1970s. Guess what I found? That’s right, “Hogan’s Heroes”! So, five days a week my world stops as I watch reruns I’ve seen hundreds of times. I often sit in silence, except for the occasional giggle or two, and feel my dad’s presence. It’s as if I’m six years old again. Life was good then. And for thirty minutes, life is alright.
The following is a poem sent to me by a friend shortly after my father passed. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to read it, but sometimes it gives me hope.
“Death is nothing at all,”
“I have only slipped away into the next room,” FATHER GOODWIN would say.
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 to
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!
Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral
‘The King of Terrors’, a sermon on death delivered in St Paul’s Cathedral on Whitsunday 1910, while the body of King Edward VII was lying in state at Westminster:
PS. Integrity (noun) – The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.