Pennine walks

Getting the heart of life through death

Pennine walks

Someone I know is sitting, preparing for his brother to take his final breath.

Through the last months his friends have supported, joked, wished, prayed, shared the journey that has brought them to the hospice. Meanwhile the family have worked and toiled to help their brother fight: supporting, loving and lifting each other. Sharing trials, setbacks, progress and now, finally, facing the fact that their brother is now down to his final days.

The cancer that would not be beaten is seemingly the winner. Often the terms we use against cancer are militaristic: we fight, battle, wage war. And fighting is good. It keeps us going, gives hope, shapes purpose.  When the cancer recedes we feel the victory, are triumphant.

What then, when the cancer will not be vanquished? Is this defeat?

No. A thousand times, no.

As hard as it is to face, the simple truth is not one of us gets out of this alive. We will all die. Some sooner than later. How can we live, knowing this is the case? What is the point?


There is nothing else that matters. Money, career, objects, vacations, houses – all nothing. Even with a breaking heart, it is everything to be able to sit with the person you love and know that they love you, and that they know that they are loved. To help them enjoy the things they want to do. Support them in their passing.

This is the victory.

If we all lived every day in awareness and acceptance of death then life would be very different. Love is everything.

To my friend: love and peace to you and your family. You are not alone, none of us are alone. Together, we can all share the grief and the victory.

And the love.

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