Thursday, June 9, 2011


A blogging friend recently lost a friend and quilting buddy.  I looked up a poem by Henry Vandyke I had heard at a funeral more than 20 years ago that gave me comfort... so I could share it with her.

I am standing upon the seashore.  
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  
She is an object of beauty and strength.  
I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. 

Then someone at my side says: “There... she is gone!”

“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight, that is all.  
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.  
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. 

And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”...  there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: “Here she comes!” 

And that is dying.

Today, I got word that a friend and coworker whom I have not seen since this past December was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was in ICU, and was not expected to live through the day.

I was shocked, devastated, aghast...  I couldn't take the news in.

I've done all the right things since hearing this sad news....  I made sure I was around people, talked to them, stayed busy, spoke with a friend when I got home....

I want to find a way to honor an outstanding teacher who made a difference in the lives of her students... a friend who always had a smile on her face, a positive attitude, a kind word for everyone... who was outgoing, active, and a part of the community.... a truly special person.

Interesting that after looking up the above poem for someone else, I needed it myself... a coincidence?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barbara, my friend... you are loved and you will be missed...


  1. that is very touching. isn't it funny how life does those kind of things to us. i'm glad you found that poem for your blogging friend. i'm sorry to hear about your co-worker. she sounds like a great person!

  2. Im so sorry to hear about your co-worker! My sympathy goes out to you and your friends who are struggling right now and their families :(

  3. Beautiful tribute for both situations. Life is good, but often hard and you never know what a day will bring. I hope todayy will be better for you... :o)

  4. I'm sorry to hear about your blogging friend and your former coworker. Thank you for sharing the lovely poem of comfort.

  5. It's not fair...all my thoughts are with you and her family. I'm sorry that I don't have such a beautiful poem for you as you had for me....

  6. Sorry for your loss of a friend. I guess it's true that life is unfair. The poem is beautiful.

  7. I am sorry to hear of your loss. Losing someone we car about is never an easy thing, although it eases with time. You have honored your friend with what you have written today. May God's blessings shine upon you and may He welcome your friend!

  8. My heartfelt sympathies to you, to your coworker's family, and to your blogging friend.
    This poem also comforted me over 3 years ago, as I 'accidentally' came across it during my father's passing (an avid sailor). We had it read at his is such a blessing.

    Your being comforted led to the comfort of another, just as the scripture states: "Praise be to...the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Cor. 1:3-4.
    May all who mourn be comforted.

  9. I too lost a friend suddenly to ovarian cancer. I'm glad you found the poem for your friend and for me. May your day be brighter having known her. Hugs.

  10. I'm so sorry you lost your friend. Losing loved ones is one of the hardest things we have to do in life. The poem is so true and so touching. Thank you for sharing it. I don't believe it was a coincidence that you found it just at the time you needed it. When we try to bless others, it often comes back to us in some way.

  11. I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose a friend. Remembering all the wonderful times with my friend helped me the most. Keeping her memory alive.

  12. I am so sorry for your blogging friend and coworker. So sad. Beautiful poem.

  13. Our pastor used to use the analogy in the poem to help comfort any children that might be attending a funeral. I think the adults were more comforted by it than any of the familiar words. I am so sorry to hear about your co-worker. She has brought so much to life from the sounds of things, and she will continue to enrich the world with her legacy. Bless.

  14. Thank you for sharing that - and sharing your heart with us. Hugs to you and all mentioned in this post -

  15. A beautiful poem, how sad for your friend, i hope she finds peace, life is too short.

  16. Lovely poem and a wonderful way to think of death. The news of your coworker is shocking, it is so hard to lose someone. I've had two quilting friends die recently - both within a week of seeing them at retreats. It's hard but it's the circle of life.

  17. What a beautiful poem...sending lots of good thoughts. Take care. thank you so much for your pillowcases.

  18. I am so sorry that your friend is not here for you, but trust me, she is very near you every day. As a 10 yr survivor of stage 2 pancreatic cancer, I know the situation well. Listen people to your body, if you think there is something wrong, there is. do not be afraid, mine was caught in enuff time for some reason. I had not had a clue I had this, but something told me 5 months earlier I was going to die, to do something and I went to egt it done. THAT and allthe what if's saved me , for what i dont know.

  19. I just found this post today (I'm so behind, ah, well). Freda, you saw where I lost a dear friend, too, here recently in May. I'm touched by your poem, and thank you for sharing it. Blessings, my friend ~hugs, pokey