Bettina, wife of my godson Jörg and mother of their seven-year old daughter Alina, died two days ago in Germany. A week earlier she’d received a heart transplant; a complex process of infection and rejection brought her young life to an end. Their love for each other was evident in everything they did and said.
Having death barge into my family leaves me speechless. Every day, in my work at hospice, I bring my compassionate presence to patients and their loved-ones. Yet, as I type this, my heart feels numb as stone.
Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.
We look toward each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.
~John O’Donohue. (2004). To bless the space between us, p.179.