North Bridge, Concord, MAThere comes a time when death becomes more friendly, almost embracing. My uncle was admitted to a hospice yesterday and doesn’t have much time remaining. The entire transition from being present in life to becoming unaware was a matter of weeks.

The hospice is a subdued environment with welcoming volunteers and medical staff. The gardens are meticulous. The prayer room a place of solitude and solace. There is a noticeable separation from the frantic and directed pace of the living to the quiet and unknowing world of those who are navigating that last journey.

My cousins sit and watch their father die. It’s not a well choreographed event. There are fits and starts. Long pauses of rest. The flat screen tv flickers images that sometime catch attention. It’s a process. An undetermined length of time. Ushering a family member into the next.

And, there are all the memories. The feelings of sorrow and guilt mixed with humor and pain. It’s life. His life. No one should die alone.

Because there is forgiveness. Forgiveness for life’s transgressions. For unpredictable events that shaped other people’s lives. For emotions that tore family ties.

Forgiveness lets you accept and move on with life. To be present with the dying. It’s the grace of being human.