The Gift of Death during Advent

You are not there

in the shell of your body

now pale and at peace

in its casket

waiting and ready

for the ritual of death.

You are not there

your presence

is everywhere

within the walls of the house

the books you once read

the place where you sat

the News on the radio

to which you tuned in.

You are not there

I hear you as I leave

by the garden and

glance up and see

the robin

perched high on the bare


enlarged red breast

pulsating with song.

You are not there

you are gone in

that life changing


of death

As we prepare to celebrate

that life changing


of birth.

Marika Hackman shares “O’ Come, O’ Come Emmanuel” –…ome-emmanuel/

My dearly loved Dad died on 26 November 2014 at 4:15am. His devoted wife (my Mum) was by his side, as was my husband and I to witness his death.We celebrated his life on 15 December 2014 at his funeral and thanksgiving service.

We feel assured that he is held in the arms of our loving three-in-one God.


This post is dedicated to all those with loved ones who have died or who are close to death this Advent. My dad had a good death, after a good innings; in his own home and in the presence of family.  When death is violent, unexpected or traumatic, it is very different. My prayer is for you and that you and your loved ones are upheld in the palm of God’s hand. Amen.


About Gentle Breeze

Julia is married to Kevin. They live together in Todmorden with their black and white cat Willow. Todmorden is a small rural town nestling among the Pennine hills in the Upper Calder Valley, on the border of West Yorkshire and Lancashire. Julia is a mixture of contradictions. She happily shares her email address with her husband; yet when she married she kept her own surname.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Reflections, Spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Gift of Death during Advent

  1. paulfg says:

    Julia. What a beautiful thing to share. Love and sadness. Yet so much love in so few words.

    • Thanks Paul. I appreciate your comment. I am glad it comes across, the love and sadness. We are sad because we are now separated from my dad by death; we are glad because his suffering has come to an end; and it was a triumph that we managed to care for him at home without him going into hospital. Much of this was due to my mum, although we helped. And, yes, I wanted to show the love. My dad was greatly loved. So, thanks again and thanks for the hug. Julia
      Happy Christmas!

  2. Little Monk says:

    Happy Christmas to you, Julia. Though those words may ring a bit hollow in the midst of the bittersweet grief of recent loss. Perhaps my better wish to you is… “Blessed and Joyful Christmas!”, for the awareness of loss makes a sadness that is sheer folly or dishonesty to deny. But you have rightly keyed on the critical truth here, that there is joy and comfort in seeing the Life that is even More Present for your Dad than it was before. I am constantly amazed by the truth that we, right now, are being “overtaken by Life”.

    Your WordPress family wraps you in our warmest embrace, standing (or sitting) with you as carols play, bells ring, fireplaces crackle with homey flames, and all together we ponder the wonder of Life Himself coming to dwell among us. He came from the Father, dwelt among us, returned to His throne, sent back the Spirit, and prepares our place. He has promised us that place with Him forever, and to make that last journey is fulfillment of the greatest adventure of all.

    Thank you for your writing and sharing, You always take me to new and wondrous places.

    Thanking you for your grace, I am — The Little Monk

    • Thank you Little Monk for visiting and your comment. Often I have no words when you write such warm and loving comments to me. I loved Christmas as a child or certainly the anticipation of it. And I still love the Christmas message. And yet the actuality of Christmas (the human version of it) can be so incredibly stressful and difficult and so it has been for me these last few years for one reason or another. This year i have not managed to send a single Christmas card to my friends. They will think I have forgotten them as it is two years running now. So when you wrote “the wordpress family wraps you in our warmest embrace” it moved me to tears, the tears I have not yet shed for my dad. So thank you again. Julia

  3. This is beautiful and even soothing. As I celebrate the joys of Christmas a tinge of what’s loss comes looking for me at times. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • Thank you. I am glad you found it soothing. I was so aware of my dad’s presence immediately after he died. He was not there and yet he was there. I wanted to convey something of that. Thanks for your comment. Julia

  4. Merryn says:

    I was touched reading this- must be so hard saying goodbye to your dad and yet what a comfort to know his soul lives on, in Jesus. Praying God floods your heart with peace and comfort and helps you during these difficult times.

    • Thank you for your kind reply. I think I was dreaming about him last night. I miss his sense of humour which remained in tact despite his dementia. He laughed when Kevin (my husband) and I had silly verbal spats. I miss that. Thanks for visiting my Blog and for commenting. I think we might have things in common. I have loved writing from childhood too. Julia

      • Merryn says:

        So glad your dad retained his sense of humour till the end. I’m sure it would have helped ease the frustration of having a deteriorating body. My Grandad died after going downhill with dementia too. He would fall asleep mid-sentence and it was so upsetting when, out-of-character he got angry, since we wouldn’t take him home from the nursing home. Were you an avid reader as a child? Do you journal? I enjoy journalling but these days it’s hard to find the peace and quiet to spill my thoughts on the page – I find I can’t write unless I get uninterrupted time to myself.

      • Hi, yes it was lovely that Dad continued to laugh, as he spoke less and less. And he was asleep much of the time. Also my mum through sheer tenacity and some help from us managed to care for my dad at home. He died at home in his own bed where he wanted to be. We felt a sense of triumph that we had managed to care for him to the end at home. My mum-in-law is in a Nursing Home due to different circumstances.
        Yes, I was an avid reader as a child and I love children’s books. As a teenager I became lazier or had less time and I would watch TV rather than read. I am haphazard in my attempts of keeping a journal. I write in notebooks or scraps of paper rather than in a proper journal or diary. Now I sometimes write on my blog or in documents. I like to write when I need to write something out, to understand what is happening perhaps, think things through or when I am troubled by difficult feelings. I have also written out prayers and a gratitude journal on occasions. Like you I need space and to be undisturbed to do this. My dream (or ambition perhaps) is to write a children’s story. I have a vague idea for one or possibly two. I tend to have a lot of ideas floating about in my head and i am not as focused as i’d like to be at putting them down. I look forward to reading more of your blog and conversing like this. Julia

      • Merryn says:

        Thanks for sharing your journalling experiences Julia. My experience with journalling is similar these days. For about 5 years I journalled almost daily and for half my life I have written in journals, but at the moment I tend to just write in different notebooks and throw out the paper later on. Like you, is sometimes my journal now. And I would also like to write a book- a non fiction book on the theme of pain and a children’s book (perhaps in the theme of poetry). I have a friend who would sp an incredible job as illustrator. I don’t know where to start, but the dream has grown the past few years and I wonder if I am supposed to commence the writing whilst I am a stay at home mum. What a terrific effort, keeping your dad at home till the end. I’m sure it would have aided his health because he would have been in a familiar place and near loved ones. I love “chatting” on here too :).

      • Wouldn’t it be great if we could both realise our dreams and write those books. I am interested in both your ideas.I have started a writing course which is encouraging me to give it a go (slowly). I am still gathering the ideas. You’ll have to let me know how you get on.Love, Julia

  5. lensgirl53 says:

    My condolences to you and your family. While your dad and my son celebrated Jesus up close and personal, it makes a somber Christmas for those of us grieving their absence. Christmas, birthdays, etc..are celebrations that are steeped in traditions borne from our love. Death cuts into our heartfelt holidays especially if you lose your loved one like you did so close to Christmas. Our consolation is “the reason for the season”… Because of Christ we will be with our loved ones again one day. Love and peace ….. Dale

    • Thank you for your condolences. Christmas was poignant and yet at the same time my dad seemed close by, friends and relations rallied round and we had fun giving him a good ‘send off’ at a thanksgiving service. It is now in a winter cold snap, when I have been laid low by a virus, and my mum too with a different one, that we are missing him. So thank you for your timely words. Julia x

  6. lensgirl53 says:

    I pray for quick healing for you and your mom and that clear and sunny days are ahead.⛅

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