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To die, to sleep

05 September 2014


From Mrs Elaine Bishop
Sir, - My mother-in-law, who came from an old Devon farming family who have lived in the same house for three-and-a-half centuries, used to say, when reporting a death in the village: "So-and-So's gone on" (Comment, 15 August; Letters, 22 and 29 August). Besides this, every evening, when she rose from her chair to get ready for bed, she would say: "I'm going on." She awoke each morning refreshed and invigorated.

The use of the same phrase for sleep and for a death referred to the sleep of Christians in death, from which they will rise on the morning of resurrection. Not a sad euphemism, but a statement of Christian truth and hope.

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Chichester PO19 1DE

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