PG's Tips for Survival at the RHN

SIDNEY LOSES HIS FATHER - a Matter of Life and Death

'You are certain of two things in this life - one is that you're born and the other is that you're going to die.'

It wasn't as if Sidney was new to death - 'the final frontier'. In his training and work as a clergyman in the C of E, he encountered many bereaving people, took many funerals and generally was there at the farewell of loved ones.

It wasn't as if he was a stranger to death within the Hospital. A number of Sidney's friends had died, mainly from Multiple Sclerosis.

So it comes as no surprise that when Sidney lost his father, it was not the 'body blow' it might have been. Nevertheless, it was still his dear old Dad.

Death has plenty of humour attached to it - as a sort of escape valve, a way of coping with the inevitability of it. For example, there is the woman whose tombstone read 'I told you I wasn't feeling well.' My favourite has to be the story of the man who was burying his wife.

They carried the coffin, in mournful procession through the streets, but they accidentally bumped into a corner. The wife miraculously (and to the husband's horror) woke up.

A few years later (too many for the hen-pecked man), the wife died a second time. They again processed through the streets. As they neared the spot where she came back to life, the man called out 'Mind the corner, boys.'

Another way of coping with death is by thinking about Heaven:

Wish you were here ...
The music is incredible
Anything from Bach, the Beatles to Boyzone,
Rock, Soul, Blues, Indie, Jazz.
Naturally, they've got THE best gospel music
But you just hear your favourite.
Wish you were here ...

The scenery is incredible
Anything from your garden to the Golden Gate bridge.
Again, you can see whatever you want
And just be where you want.
Wish you were here ...

The people are incredible
So friendly and welcoming.
You'd never guess who I had a special lunch with?
Wish you were here ...

If by chance I end up in the OTHER PLACE
You'd be surprised who I've seen.
Glad you're not here.


Sidney still missed, and misses his father.

Written by Peter Gow
February 2000

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