Vidal of Key West to Ronnie Cherry
I’M ONLY IN THE NEXT ROOM
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
let it be spoken without effort, without a trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was;
there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well!
Henry Scott Holland, 1847-1918,
Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral.
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