Center for
Contemporary Mysticism

Death of a Loved One
Words of John O'Donohue (1956-2008) Irish poet, author, priest and Celtic philosopher. Excerpts from his books, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace and Divine Beauty

The dead are not distant or absent. They are alongside us. When we lose someone to death, we lose their physical image and presence, they slip out of visible form into invisible presence. This alteration of form is the reason we cannot see the dead. But because we cannot see them does not mean they are not there.

Transfigured into eternal form, the dead cannot reverse the journey and even for one second re-enter their old form to linger with us a while. Though they cannot reappear they continue to be near us, and part of the healing of grief is the refinement of our hearts whereby we come to sense their loving nearness.

When we ourselves enter the eternal world and come to see our lives on earth in full view, we may be surprised at the immense assistance and support with which our departed loved ones have accompanied every moment of our lives. In their new, transfigured presence their compassion, understanding and love take on a divine depth, enabling them to become secret angels guiding and sheltering the unfolding of our destiny.

Center for Contemporary Mysticism
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