Death and Dying – by Robin Harford

25th October 2023#funerals#guest-blog#talking-about-death
Death and Dying – by Robin Harford

Robin Harford runs the eatweeds blog and shares his knowledge and experiences with over 25,000 foragers, herbalists and plant lovers.

This week he shared a powerful and moving post about death and dying. His father passed away and the way Robin described his father’s death as a transformation, rather than a termination really resonated with us and how we feel natural burial continues that life cycle.

Here is his full blog post

Happy Friday,

This week marked a significant transition in my life: my siblings and I buried my father, and I faced the stark reality of being an orphan.

It was a solemn day, characterised more by personal reflection than by the usual overt expressions of grief.

As we gathered around the open grave, the world seemed to participate in the ceremony, offering up symbols of life continuing even amidst loss.

High above, a kite flew.

Unconcerned with our solemn assembly, it reminded me of the continuity of life and the freedom of the spirit, unaffected by our physical constraints.

Its presence was comforting, a note of normalcy on a day that felt anything but normal.

Nearby, an ash and a yew tree stood as silent observers of our sorrow.

These trees, common in settings of final rest, felt like appropriate companions.

They were living, growing entities, standing at the crossroads of our existence, marking the place where one journey ends and countless others continue.

The weather seemed to acknowledge our mourning, with a light breeze disturbing the stillness and a warm rain beginning to fall.

Rather than seeing these as disruptions, I viewed them as affirmations from the natural world, a reminder that life’s cycles include sunshine and rain, calm and storm.

This experience brought home the realisation that life and death are not isolated stages but points on a continuous cycle.

My father’s passing didn’t represent an end but rather a transition, a natural step on the journey that every living being takes.

His life didn’t terminate but transformed.

The kite, the trees, the wind, the rain weren’t poetic clich├ęs.

They were tangible reminders that the world keeps turning, the cycle keeps spinning, and life keeps living.

My father was now an intrinsic part of that natural progression.

He returned to the earth from which all life springs, contributing to the ongoing story of existence.

This understanding didn’t erase the pain but helped frame my loss within the broader context of life itself.

I wasn’t just a grieving child; I witnessed the most natural process, the cycle of life and death.

It was a lesson in perspective, a reminder that death, too, has its place, and it is neither an aberration nor a halt but a phase in the rhythm of life.

Now, as an orphan, my relationship with the world feels more direct and more involved.

I see myself, my family, and our loss as part of a much larger picture.

Every element around us, animate or inanimate, is part of this grand cycle; there’s comfort in that unity.

Even in death, we remain connected to all of existence, participants in the relentless flow of life.

In essence, the ceremony was more than a farewell to my father.

It was a nod to life’s perpetual motion, acknowledging our small yet significant part in a narrative far grander and more magnificent than our individual stories.

It’s in this vast context that the memory of my father will continue to live on.

And if, like me, you are grieving. Hold fast and let the earth hold you, let the land absorb your pain.

Talk soon,

You can read the blog here and subscribe to the eatweeds newsletter here.