Death and Eternal Life, a reflection

Lake Erie copyThis morning my mother died after a long life. As someone pointed out, most of her life is still ahead of her! When I send a sympathy card, I insert a reflection on death. Today I am posting it for you…and for me, as a reminder:

Life Is Eternal

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,

and I stand and watch her until at length

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’s gone.”

Gone where? Gone from my sight; that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spare

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’s gone,”

there are other eyes watching her coming,

and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,

“There she comes!”


When you are face-to-face with the mystery of death, what thought gives you comfort?


  1. Mary Day on November 13, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Sister Kathleen,

    My deepest and heartfelt consolation to you for the loss of your Mom.

    November is truly a holy month. May she rest in eternal peace with all the angels, saints, and all your loved ones. May our dear Lord give you His comfort. Thank you for the hopeful reflection.

    With my prayers,

    Mary Day

  2. Sr. Helen Burdenski,SND on November 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm


    What a profound and beautiful reflection on death! And what a wonderful mother God gave to you and your siblings. I will always remember her radiant smile, her kindness and generosity, and her great sense of humor. Thank you for sharing her with me throughout the years.

    With love and prayer,

  3. smjames on November 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you so much for the beautiful reflection on passing to eternal life.
    Many prayers and much support for you and your siblings at this time.
    Pray to her–she is still your mother. 🙂

  4. Kathy OFS on November 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Blessings of peace and comfort to you. May God help you through your loss and may she rest in peace.

  5. Carole Iseli on November 14, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Sr. Kathleen, I offer you my heartfelt sympathy and prayerful support on the passing of your mother at age 92. What a life she must have had on this good earth, but oh what a life she has now and forever!

    Thank you also for the beautiful reflection. As my family approaches the 10th anniversary of our mom’s entrance to eternal life in early 2014, I will share it with them, especially my younger sister who was so very close to our mom.

    May our good and provident God grant eternal rest to your mother and comfort and consolation to you and all your family.


    Carole Iseli
    SND Associate

  6. Sister Kathleen Tobin on November 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Dear Sister Kathleen,

    My sincerest sympathy on the death of your mother. What a beautiful poem you shared. I especially like the idea that while she is disappearing from your sight she comes to another shore where she is welcomed. May this thought continue to give you God’s love and peace.
    Sister Kathleen

  7. Maria Amato on November 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Dear Sister,
    My deepest sympathy on the loss of your mother. I am a NDA graduate (77). A dear friend has started her journey home after a long, wonderful life. Edna is 97 and a mother of 10 children. While visiting Edna today at Holly Hill Sean Quinn visited and prayed with us in the same comforting way she did when my beloved grandmother was going home. Today was extra special when Sean shared your beautiful reflection. Thank you for this gift of peace. God Bless You.

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