2020 / May

For every road must end

Absent Friends by Ken Dodd

Photo by William Bossen on Unsplash

So, after losing both my Mum and Dad this year, I’m hoping that this will be the last time I’ll be writing about bereavement for a while. This week has been my Mum’s funeral. At the time of writing, it hasn’t happened yet. So, much like in the photo above, at the moment it feels like I’m walking into the unknown this week.

If you’ve ever walked around West Kirby marine lake in the fog, the picture above would look familiar. Water on both sides and a path which simply disappears into the fog. You don’t know where you are heading by sight alone, but you have confidence that it will lead you back safe to the shore.

Yet for each of us, there will come a day when we won’t return to the metaphorical ‘shore’. To quote Ken Dodd from this week’s song Absent Friends, chosen by my cousin Lesley:

For every road must end.

Reflecting on the picture, I’m struck that it can be seen as something scary, or something with a mystical beauty. Whenever I’ve been at the marine lake and it’s looked like this, I’ve really enjoyed my walk all the more as I’ve not been distracted by looking at what’s going on over on the shore. Instead, I’m left in the moment enjoying the experience and finding space to gently reflect on what has been. This idea of being present is also reflected in the Ken Dodd song:

As we go down the road of life, sometimes we race too fast.

As I’m about to experience Mum’s funeral this week, I’m trying to keep this thought in mind. Experiencing the present is something to do with care and patience. There is a party of me which wants to get the week out of the way and start afresh next week. Yet, appreciating the week, its troubles and sadness, as well as the space for more positive memories thinking about Mum’s life, is part of the natural bereavement process and not something to be hurried. Returning to Ken Dodd:

As we chase the future bright, we can forget the past.

But ultimately, all of this is not just about bereavement. I think there is a deep wisdom in walking with a foot in the past and a foot in the future, but ultimately being in the present. As we journey through life itself, there are many metaphorical roads which will come to an end. And when they do, it seems to me the lesson is not to rush off to the next journey too quickly.

Need some help learning to reflect? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood?


Founder and Director of Metanoeo CIC and Metanoeo Coaching. Working with individuals, communities and business to co-create #wellbeing4all through life coaching, resources for living life well and training and supporting life coaches.