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Correspondence in Grief

 I am deeply sorry to have to tell you that our beloved Toby passed away last Thursday. We think it was a seizure such as he has had before.

As for us, the weather has turned absolutely gorgeous, so we three are taking lovely walks in nature, and coming to terms with the loss of our darling, suffering boy. For him at least it was a release. The only consolation. His life was of increasing suffering and disability, with no end in sight, and total fear of the future. 

Suffering and love. Those are the themes for now. They belong together.


Your message has struck me with a wild force. 

I am so deeply sorry to learn about Toby!

 For the last few days, I have had a strong sense of your presence, and was going to gather myself to write. I miss you so much, and was thinking of the possibility of coming to see you. There is a love running deeper than any emotion in the still place in my heart where I connect with who you are.


And here I am, as I sit down to write to you, receiving your message about Toby, and I am trying to comprehend the suffering and the love you have been asked to hold. It seems immense.

And all I can think of is surrendering. 

Suffering, love, surrendering.




 My heart goes out to you all

and to Toby who is crossing over to the formless.


I am so glad to receive your email and know that the connection still holds.

We three are getting through the days, beautiful golden hot days --30 degrees!-- just walking and talking  and trying to assimilate. Nothing major to do yet, but wait.  

I can't say much more. But your thoughts and words have entered the deep place.

We'll keep in touch and speak soon.


I see you three


golden sunlight




Light filtering through trees.


I feel so close

as I imagine you three walking


about life 

and about




In silence

I am sitting in a little chapel.

It’s lunchtime, so nobody else is here.

There is golden light coming in through the window and I can hear the sounds from the street. Life is moving all around the chapel.

But in here it’s silent and still. 

 I love the silence.

I meditate next to a huge bowl in the centre of the chapel, a baptism font, I assume.

I see an image of The Blue Bowl you put on an altar some years ago. 



I have an upwelling of sorrow through my body.

There is no immediate story I can attach the sorrow to.

It is huge.

Dark, deep.


A car stops outside the open window. There is loud music playing in the car and it floats into the chapel where I am sitting. The song is the same I sent you last week; ‘Fields of Gold.’ 

I hear :

“So she took her love

for to gaze a while

upon the fields of barley

in his arms she fell as her hair came down 

among the fields of gold” 


And somehow the deep, dark sorrow and the golden light come closer together as I sit in the silence.

And I think of Toby

and I think of you.

And I think of Spirit.

And I wanted to write these words to you.



Oh, your email is wonderful. We two were at the computer checking the wording of something when it came through. We read it together and were deeply moved. In addition, it echoes an experience E had yesterday....


Namely-- she went to a movement class in London to get out of the house. At the end the teacher played a song, and it was the very song she had been thinking about for including in Toby's Farewell service. Not a well-known song either. She burst into tears and sobbed. Someone touched her arm. She came away shaken.


I listened to the Fields of Gold when you sent it, and will listen again. It's lovely. 

These are strange days. We walk and sit and see people, and still the weather is warm or hot. Bunches of flowers appear in the house. Little golden spiders are building webs all over the garden: I counted 10 delicate circles of web shining with early morning dew under the wings of my big eagle sculpture. But though the trees are turning brown, there are no conkers this year—how can I keep the spiders at bay....? (pure superstition...conkers round the house deter them!!) 


Toby is released to us for the funeral. He went peacefully, no signs of struggle or pain. In his bed watching a dvd with his laptop beside him as he did every evening, a seizure or some medical event took him quietly, gracefully.  So, his suffering is over. It is hard to comprehend after so many years, that he is free, and I am free-- but do I want this freedom?


For now, there is much to do. All is falling into place beautifully so far. So many people his death has touched! —he would be amazed at what his departure has unleashed, as are we, the recipients of so many heartfelt messages and contacts. I have sent over 50 responses to emails. And he knew so few, and had no personal friends.....

The power in death.

I look forward to talking with you soon, but at present the tide is ebbing and flowing over us and we are keeping together and taking each day separately as it arises   Painful things are to come as we sort out his life. I do little things for him with translucent love, and now he's free, he doesn't mind!

Keep us in mind and heart—it strengthens us all.


Some days have passed since Toby's funeral.

I have had you in my heart and in my awareness. 

I imagine a strange new land that you all might be finding yourselves in right now.


I am witnessing the three of you sitting in the front row. I see your backs, so straight, I see the three of you like three pillars, sitting together, 

 Dignity, Grace, Love. 

As you each take your place in honouring Toby, I have a sense of order entering my body. Some kind of order that is hard to name, enters as you each speak your honouring of Toby.

Out of what feels like chaos, I can sense a greater order. 

Unfathomable, unspeakable, but felt, order.


I see the doors open and the light pouring in, I see the long body of Man forming like a snake, walking through the church, towards the light, following the three of you, with Toby as a mysterious leading light. I see the three of you walking through those open doors, dignified and awake, into the unknown.

 May peace be with you all.


What a luminous vision you are gifted with!

I shall treasure your emails as the finest uplift in words we could be given.


This afternoon we went to the lovely memorial gardens to choose a place for our Toby to rest. You would like it—a wild corner called the Spinney, where snowdrops and bluebells carpet the ground under the birch trees. Very natural, very uncluttered. We have chosen a spot for a natural little slate stone which catches the afternoon sun, and the morning sun when the trees are bare. We can sit and commune. It is satisfying, and feels so strangely perfect.


 Everything about the funeral has fallen into place in such a lovely, easy way—so different to how things were in his life. We remarked on it coming home. It feels like a true expression of the place he is now—perfect, completed, blossoming forth. The grief of loss is like a dark curtain—we get tangled up in it sometimes, then it opens into a place of light and we remember the wholeness, the circularity of it all.

I move from one to the other.


On the stone is written:


Beloved Son and Brother


In the Circle of Infinity






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These musings are responses to a context, a time, a place, a query. Another time, another context. An angle slightly different, a different response, perhaps seemingly in contradiction.

But Truth is present if it resonates truthfully, and in the process should generate more questions...

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