Showing posts from January, 2015


In the middle of last winter coming home from the Skyros xmas on the Isle of Wight I suggested to my colleague Malcolm that we should start a death group for the over 65s who are facing their latter years as certain death looms ever closer.

We have met once a month 4 times now and it is powerful. I have found out that I don't really fear my own death, I fear the death of others, the terrible loss of people who have been part of my life in one way or another. Last month I counted 7, including 2 in their 30s.

 I fear the loss of my faculties, the dreaded dementia that has kept my replacement mother barely alive past her hundredth birthday. Not for me the drawn-out morphine-induced semi-conscious haze of terminal cancer or the half-paralysed wheelchair horror of a stroke. I am going to Switzerland if they don't allow assisted death here.

 I have written my DNR advance directive and filed a copy with my GP. I have planned my funeral, Did you know that the most modest of funerals …


AFTER A WHILE YOU LEARNAfter a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn't mean learning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today 
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth…

And you learn and learn…

With every good-bye you learn.