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Gone from My Sight

A few people I knew have died this week- my friend Allan who I wrote about earlier and my former next door neighbor and fellow Knights of Columbus Brother Terry.

Allan’s death was expected while Terry’s was a shock. He was a devoted family man and along with his wife Anne they raised a wonderful family of 2 daughters and a son. All I can say is that they were such wonderful parents that my wife and I trusted our kids with their kids and they all acted as babysitters for us. Terry was a leader in our community and while I did not know him really well you could just see that he was a man others respected and listen too. We will miss him at St. Patrick’s and his family will have a hole in its heart that can not be replaced.

Terry was a believer and while his leaving at this time would not have been of his own choosing he did believe in a life everlasting. Below is a poem I recited at my mother’s funeral and at several others since then. It was written by Henry Van Dyke and is the best reflection on dying I have found.

The picture is by Danny Hahlbohm to the left  goes by a number of titles and one of them is Welcome Home. For me it captures that moment when the one who has died is guided by the Holy Spirit into the Open Hands of the Father and the warm embrace of our brother Jesus. Terry is a believer and this is the moment we believe in-even though it is so difficult for those still here. God Bless all Terry’s family.

Gone from my sight- Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

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