Day 4, Chapter 10,'Love Your Loved Ones'
Thomas Hardy wrote a beautiful poem on the sudden death of his wife, Emma. 'The Going' is a poem of great beauty, but it is centred around despair. Its pathos, for me, lies ultimately in the fact that Hardy cannot grieve with hope. To him, death is the end, he will never see his wife again.
Why did you give no hint that night
That quickly after the morrow's dawn,
And calmly, as if indifferent quite,
You would close your term here, up and be gone
Where I could not follow
With wing of swallow
To gain one glimpse of you ever anon! (excerpt from Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Going’)
In this chapter Wolfe writes urging us to prepare our loved ones for our 'going'. It is fitting after a chapter on wisdom living that part of that would be adequately preparing ourselves and our loved ones for our death. Wolfe advocates both practical measures of preparation (ensuring that people we are responsible for are provided for, as well as making sure our general affairs are in order so that we don't cause any problems or squabbles) and spiritual measures to prepare our loved ones for our death.
This is perhaps the shortest chapter in the book, but was the one that I found the most confronting when I first read it. Actually talking about death and heaven with my husband and children, with my siblings, parents and friends? Well, that would make my death real.
In my subsequent read through of the book for this blog this chapter is still confronting, but I’m feeling much more ready to prepare others for my inevitable death. Having set my mind on heaven, it makes sense, it seems like a perfectly obvious thing to do, to talk to others about it.
I want those I love to know I am confident of where I am going because my confidence is in the One who has gone before. Death is not the end for those in Christ. We can say with confidence, ‘I will see you ever anon.’