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16 October 2003

Witness to Death

I have been up since a while. I should go to the hospital. But I am putting it off. Because when I get in the car, I will be onmy way to see my grandfather dying. It won't happen until later today. When they unplug the machines, at around 5pm. Nice and convenient so that those of the family who have to work can get there on time and be there until the end. Feels strange that it is all so planned like this. We didn't exactly phone everyone and say: What would be a convenient time for you to unhook Granddad. But everyone understood that some people have to work.

I am not sure I want to be in the room to witness it. But I want to be in the hospital. For my parents. Because my father is more upset about his father in law dying than he was about his own father some 3 months ago. And inbetween all this, dad is trying to set up his own business. Poor man. He has a meeting right now. I suspect there will be very little concentration.
And my mother, she is strong. Strong enough, like the rest of the family, to laugh about who granddad was. And to cry for what we will no longer have.
Yesterday we were all sitting in the Family Room at the Intensive Care Unit. Talking about Granddad. I said: Hey, we are all here and nobody is with Granddad. Anyone want to go? And they looked at me and all said: No, we are having a bit of a laugh and a chat about Granddad. It's not like he is going anywhere for a while so it is no problem that we are all sitting here for a bit.

I laughed. I love my family. I guess I never realised how much.

jane sent me a poem that was read at her Nan's funeral this summer. My mother cried when she read it and asked me to translate it into Dutch. I did and she will read it at the cremation. Thank you Jane, it is beautiful.



All Is Well



Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped 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 which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we 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 effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
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.

Henry Scott Holland


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