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death in our family

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img_0324Bettina, 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.


5 responses »

  1. Dawn Glyckherr

    Dear Peter and all beloved Renners. Your loss and grief are with me, in my heart where you all reside. Joerg, keep Alina close and closer to the love that you and Bettina shared. I wish I could be physically with you, I am there in the spirit of love and family. Love Dawn

  2. I just read your post. we can be surrounded by death every day.

    Yet when it affects one of our own it reaches in touching the velvet underbelly of our heart. Touching us in a place so vulnerable we have no ability to deflect or avoid the blow. The body, mind and our spirit is left realing, to ardently absorb the impact.

    deepest of hugs,

  3. I was very sad to read about the death in your family. It is very difficult to understand why such a beautiful, young woman with growing children would be taken at this age.
    It must be a huge shock for your family.
    A very big hug to you –

  4. Peter – You know that my thoughts, love and prayers are with you and yours. We are not to understand these things but you know she lives on always. Fill yourself with the important memories and love of those surrounding you.
    Peace be with you


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