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Death, Dying and Remembrance

By The Rev Ian Dewar, Lead Chaplain, UHMBT

The past two and a half years have been particularly challenging for people facing the end of life and for those who loved them.

As we approach November, we come to that time of the year, in the Northern hemisphere, when the darkness and the change in season call us to a more reflective and less frenetic way of living.

Of course, that doesn't happen in the way that it used to in the past.

We now have 24-hour electric lighting, targets to meet and the grotesque marketing of Christmas, where we become a sales target rather than a customer. No space for stillness and light in the darkness, as we are ‘driven’ by our society.

So, we thought that it might be helpful to create a little space of our own. This can be done in your own home. Below is a poem written by someone whose partner died a few months back. It may or may not work for you, but have a look. Beneath the poem are some things that you could do with it.

Nocturne A sadness Is creeping around The boundaries of night Like a lost Moon. And I Have seen that Moon, A thin sickle of amber Nudging itself up In the eastern sky. Poor Moon, It is A lonely curving Fragment of itself Like a creeping sadness.

Tim Hoare

Here are three simple suggestions for using the poem. Before each suggestion, spend a moment thinking about someone or something that you would like to remember.

  1. Just read it slowly. Let the words sink in. Often the best way to read poetry is out loud. So, find a quiet corner and read it out loud two or three times and see how that makes you feel.

  2. Find a safe space, sitting or standing. Light a candle. Have a moment’s silence and then read out the poem (as many times as you like). Hold the stillness and the quiet. When you're ready, blow out the candle.

  3. Wait for a clear night when you can see the moon. Stand still, look at the moon for a few seconds and recall what or who you want to remember. Read the poem and then look at the moon for as long as you like. After this, return to a normal job or activity.

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