Gone From My Sight

It seems as we get older, there are goodbyes around every bend in the road.  My mother passed away in August.  We lost a dear friend in January to leukemia.  My dear friend's father is in hospice care.  As Kenny often says, "None of us get out of this alive."

No goodbye is easy.  We feel grief and guilt at the same time.  What if I had...?  Would it have made a difference if the doctor had...?   Could we have done more?   Keeping vigil over the last hours with a loved one is like watching a train travel slowly down a track and knowing that you can't get out of the way.  The train is coming.

Parents, especially, are devastated by the death of a child.  It is not in our makeup to bury our children.  How do we go on after a child is gone? 

This weekend, I received an email from a friend whose daughter has been battling cancer.  "She is gone."  Gone where?  To Jesus, to the best day of her life.  Gone from our sight.  Now comes the challenge of living after that loss.  To put "one foot in front of the other" knowing that our separation is only temporary, and trusting that we will meet again.

I am grateful for the words of Henry Van Dyke, who wrote the short essay "Gone From My Sight." It has given me comfort when my parents passed away, and I know it will give me comfort in days to come when I say more goodbyes to people I love.

Gone From My Sight
by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning 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 and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.  And just at the moment when someone at my side 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.


  1. Well said. Comfort in our times of sadness.

  2. So thoughtfully, and beautifully said, Deborah. Thank you for sharing so deeply, and for the beautiful essay.


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