There she goes…here she comes

A close friend and colleague has been told that their loved one has only hours to live. As I offer comfort, I’m reminded of when my grandmother died and I could not be there to say good-bye.

In tears, I remember writing a love note to my grandma and faxing it to the nurses station in Massachusetts, so that the nurses could read it to her.

Tonight, I recalled this poem that Meg recently shared with me. I hope some day it can bring you comfort.

The Ship

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails in the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, there she goes!”
Gone Where? Gone from my sight… that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There she goes!,” there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!”

– Henry Jackson van Dyke (1852-1933)


  1. That’s wonderful Glenda.
    It’s not that easy to get into it if you don’t need to mourn for someone.

    Thank you for sharing this poem.

  2. The mourning we do is for ourselves mostly, that’s true. Losing my grandparents was more traumatic than I could have ever imagined. Nine years later and I still cannot bring myself to take the key for their house off my ring.

    My condolences to your friend. Her loss is tremendous, I am sure. It’s difficult to rejoice in a person’s transition from the physical body on to whatever it is that awaits us. Her pain will lessen over time….that is the only consolation.

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