As this week has brought with it the demise of Natasha Richardson and Jade Goody it has really made me think about life and death. As Jade was the same age as me, it really is a wake up call that life is fleeting and we never really know how long we've got left on this beautiful planet. Natasha Richardson is a huge illustration of that.

I'm fortunate enough only to have lost a couple of people in my life, and a few pets too. I'm not religious so I don't believe in the whole thing that we are born again, but I like the thought of seeing people and pets again too. I know it must seem a bit strange to talk about pets but I have this little dream of pets who have died living together in some sort of pet heaven with as much food as they can eat and room to play!

The two people I lost were a friend when I was at school who was 14 and had a heart defect and my Grandad. Both were about 10 years apart and I really don't know how people cope when lots of people die. Must be awful.

I think it gets better over time, but you never forget anyone who has touched your life.

I used to be the sort of person who worried about everything and never took any risks. Then a lot of stuff happened two years ago to change my outlook, of the 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger' type. Since then I am much more spontaneous and enjoy life, which I think is all we can ever do.

All Is Well
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Henry Scott Holland

Canon of St Paul 's Cathedral


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