"Death ends a life, not a relationship."
Written by
Kathryne Arnold
September 2011
Written by
Kathryne Arnold
September 2011


I must hold dear this thought, as my mother would have wanted me to. To me, this quote by the late writer, Robert Benchley, succinctly states the sum of all love. Fortunately, it is what many of us accept as truth, whatever one’s religious or personal beliefs about death. When love runs so deep that you can still feel their essence after they pass to me is unseen evidence that our relationships do not die, they just change shape. I have at times been blessed with sensing a loved ones spirit around me, so strong it is as though I can breathe it in, that they are a part of me. I can feel their nature in the swelling of my heart. It doesn’t happen nearly enough, I guess it will never be enough, as we yearn for the days before our loved ones transitioned over. It helps to sustain me on those darker days when I am buried in grief, it carries me along so I may continue to put one foot it front of the other. Other times, ones I have lost are found in the little things I see or hear or smell, unearthing memories right there in an instant, leaving a sadness tugging at my fragile heart. The smell of a perfume often worn…a photo of a simple time shared in happiness…when cooking a favorite dish enjoyed in childhood. In these instances I am either usually left with a knowing smile, or am drenched in a deep sorrow, longing to see them once more in the flesh, to see the twinkle in their eyes, to witness one more laugh.


I am grateful that with time we are released from drowning in grief, in the raw loss that washes over us when we are first physically separated from a loved one. It is a final loosening of the apron strings, to which during trying times we held on too tight. I must let go in a figurative sense, by honoring her memory, celebrating her life, being grateful to have had this particular person as my mother that helped form who I am today. I will strive to look more closely within and acknowledge my intrinsic goodness, as my mother did; sometimes against my stammering objections, and indeed, forgive myself my often too many shortcomings, as my mother was able to do with love, granted with grace. 


Now I shall slowly again learn to move on with yet another parting, not in leaps and bounds, but in small increments as I gain some distance. I lost my mother a little over a week ago, and as I look back on how she breathed in life, how she perceived living and dying, with a faith that a beautiful life awaits us upon this final exit, it gives me comfort. I am so thankful that we shared these moments of deeper reflection, knowing my mother felt she would be going to a greater place, to a more restful life, a space of infinite love, and that we will again be joined when it is my time. She used to say that there is a silver cord that binds us close, that can never be broken. A mother and child bond that holds secure over meadows, across oceans, atop mountains, through this life and the next. 


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  • Stacey Donovan

    Kathryne, what a beautiful post. My condolences on your mother's passing, yet it seems you are comforted still by her. Your "stammering objections" notwithstanding, I sense your mother will be with you always -- how lovely for you both.


    Strange, perhaps, for me to drop in today, as it's the anniversary of my beloved sister's passing -- way back when in 1989. Things special rise up for me all summer thanks to Carole, who died at 32 - far too young.


    Yup, my sister, your mother, they're in the big playground now. We, we still down here in the sandbox.