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Visiting Hours by Ed Sheeran

This song premiered in Australia on March 24, 2021, as a tribute for Michael Gudinski in whose memory Sheeran wrote the song. Can you identify the stages of the grief process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) that are touched up on in the song lyrics?

The song wraps up with these lyrics.

Can we just talk a while until my worries disappear?

I'd tell you that I'm scared of turning out a failure

You'd say, "Remember that the answer's in the love that we create"

So much has changed since you've been away

I wish that heaven had visiting hours

And I would ask them if I could take you home

But I know what they'd say, that it's for the best

So, I will live life the way you taught me

And make it on my own

And I will close the door, but I will open up my heart

And everyone I love will know exactly who you are

'Cause this is not goodbye, it is just 'til we meet again

So much has changed since you've been away


By writing this song Ed Sheeran is perhaps performing a death ritual. There is wisdom about pain in some of our oldest rituals of death. People gather, typically telling stories about the sweet, silly, or loving things the person did. We honor their courage, perseverance, and contributions to our lives at the same time we weep over the knowledge that we will never see them again. The rituals teach us that the pain of loss is rich and varied and reflects our caring and connection. We honor what loved ones stood for and promise to carry that forward. We acknowledge their flaws and resolve not to repeat them. We find in their lives instructions for what to appreciate and value. We laugh and we cry, extracting the array of thoughts and feelings that accompany the loss of anything important.




On death and dying- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

No death no fear-Thich Nhat Hanh

The denial of death- Ernest Becker

The meanings of death- John Bowker

Learning to Laugh when you feel like crying-Allen Klein

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