"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Monday, February 08, 2016


Years ago, people used to talk about ‘passing away’. I remember when I was about eight and my grandfather died, my grandmother saying to someone who enquired, “Oh, he, er,  passed away” which I thought was an impressive, grown - up way of talking about a death, so when my teacher asked me how  my grandfather was, knowing that he had been ill,  I too replied with, “Oh he, er, passed away” and felt terribly grown up. I imagine the teacher turned away to hide a smile and the tale was told in the staff room at the first opportunity.
In recent years, the ‘in’ word is ‘passed.’ I have wondered if this is part of the modern tendency to shorten and simplify everything but actually, I don’t really understand why we can’t simply say that someone has died.
On Thursday, four of us sat by Dad’s bed as his life drew to its close. It was laboured and he was not really aware of what was happening around him and in that respect, it seemed not unlike the process of birth. Earlier in the day, the Methodist minister had visited to say prayers, at their usual times, the carers had been to make him comfortable and the district nurses had called to adjust his medication.
We will miss him, of course we will, but we will also remember that he lived a full and interesting life and achieved lots of things he wanted to and many that he never expected to and that will be his legacy.


Dale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dale said...


GaynorB said...

Thinking of you all.

mrsnesbitt said...

So beautifully humbling.

Shooting Parrots said...

Sorry to hear about your dad and I hope that you are bearing up. I share your views on the use of 'passing away', but I suppose it sounds gentler when it is someone you loved.

ZACL said...

I am sorry for your loss. What a poignant and lovely obituary for someone who was much loved, your dad.

The descriptions people use for talking about the death of someone are interesting. There was a discussion recently on the radio on this very subject. Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 featured various aspects of death and dying on today's programme. There was much I found touching, insightful and connecting.

My condolences to you and your family. xx

Jennyta said...

Thank you ZACL.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I prefer "died" to "passed" or "passed away". Somehow "died" seems more honest, more true.

Beverley Brook said...

Hello, I have just found your blog after a ramble round blogworld and the link via Yorkshire Pudding. I am sorry that you are once again in the position of losing a loved one and to say that you posted such an uplifting account of his life.

I lost my 39 year old daughter to suicide 4 years ago yesterday and so obviously read through your mothers story post with the thought ringing in my head that you have put into words everything that I have felt and still do feel about the why's and wherefore's and the if only's with tears in my eyes.

I know many mums are going through this situation as life is so very stressful for our offspring these days.

It was good to read your thoughts and it helped me to feel less alone and to echo your feelings about our lovely "children". 4 years is still not very long in the grieving process but it is good to correspond with someone who understands the pain.



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