Paradox – grief and blessing – Godspeed my brother (Geoff Maul)

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. – Romans 14:8

– Geoff (and Maggie) in September 2011, the day we started our ongoing series of interviews

This is going to be a hard post to do right. But I have to try. This blog is where I do a lot of my processing of life, my thinking out loud. And you, those curious enough to read over my shoulder, are a huge part of how I write and how I continue to grow. Thanks so much for being a part of me.

I lost an important part of me around 8:15 yesterday evening. My brother, Geoff, is just plain gone.

Oh, I understand the fact that Geoff is – and always will be – a critically important element of what it means to be a Maul, and I’m confident without question that he is now more alive than he has ever been and in the presence of the God he loves so deeply. But Geoff is still gone, our lives are still undeniably empty, our hearts are literally aching with grief, and our spirits are heavy with sadness.

PASSAGE: I headed down to his house Sunday afternoon, and my privilege was to spend the next twenty-two hours doing absolutely everything in my power to serve my brother and to bring into play every possible resource on his behalf. Geoff has some amazing friends, and I can’t say enough to thank Tom Monroe for being such a solid and faithful rock of consistent presence over the past couple of weeks.

Geoff’s daughter, Hannah, and I were able to make sure that he completed this particular phase of his journey in the comfort and security of the beautiful Tidewell Hospice facility in Ellenton. He passed away in the evening, literally surrounded by family and friends.

It was, in every sense of the word, a “holy” passage. The presence of God literally filled both the physical space and the hearts and minds of everyone present. My sense was that the reality of the holiness was evident to everyone, official “believer” or not. The truth of such an experience has enough gravity to transcend even the most deep-seated conviction or doubt.

GOD IS: And that is really the point of my post this morning. God is. And God is all about the business of saving people. And by that I don’t mean the clichéd, formulaic version pushed by some religions. What I’m talking about is God’s constant invitation that we participate in the fullness of life, the “life that truly is life,” the new and living way of Jesus.

You see, Geoff’s death, my brother’s passageway into the next stage of the journey, turns out to be more evidence of the life-charged life. There was so much living faith in the room with Geoff yesterday evening that the very walls were crying out, “Peace!” “Love!” “Salvation!” “Rest!”

– I’m going to miss you, Geoff (I already do…)

It’s a difficult paradox, I’ll acknowledge, because that room was also loaded to the ceiling with grief, and sadness, and a sense of loss that will stay with those of us who love Geoff for a very long time.

And so, “God-Speed” my brother. Thank you so very much for all the adventures, the laughter, the tears, the challenges, the irrepressible enthusiasm, the complications, the travels, the conversations, the insight, the honesty, the shared family, the broadening of my horizons (voluntary and otherwise!) and – most of all – the enduring love.

In love, and because of love – DEREK


  1. I leave the Micah 6:8 scripture for you and the firm belief that Geoff is now understanding it’s meaning to it’s very fullest. It’s all clear to him now.
    Peace my brother.


  2. With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Thy servant Geoff, where sickness and sorrow are no more, neither sighing but life eternal. †


  3. Derek, I can imagine the mix of emotions in the room at Geoff’s passing. He was a beautiful person, within and without, and my heart is heavy with sadness and the reality of our brief time on earth. May the love you shared and the memories of your childhood and adulthood bring you a measure of peace and comfort, as well as the peace which passes all understanding.


  4. How sad for all Geoff’s family and friends but have wonderful for Geoff.He’s free of all pain and suffering and now will be singing and dancing with the Lord!!! You’re all in our continued prayers.
    With sympathy,
    Walt and Barbara


  5. Maul Family,
    We are sorry for your loss, here, and are rejoicing in the great comfort of the life-charge life that your brother lived and that we will all celebrate with God and Geoff one day. What a glorious reunion.

    In HIs Love, The Owens Family


  6. Derek,
    The beauty and the love with which you have shared Geoff’s passage will stay with us forever. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Darwin and Pat


  7. Dear Derek,

    I am unable with mere human words to express my deepest condolences to you and all of Geoff’s family, extended family, and circle of friends. Yes, there is the strangest paradox when we consider the crushing sorrow of losing a most dear family member contrasted with the faith-affirming joy that the family member is in the most joyous place of all. It’s all about the balance between the mere physical life and the exultant spiritual life. Carol, Ric, and I pray for emotional and spiritual healing for all. Peace and Blessings, as always, Henry


  8. Dear Derek,
    Sorry to hear of Geoff’s death. My prayers are with you and your family. Take care of yourself during these difficult days ahead. Rest in God.


  9. Derek,
    You and your entire family are in our prayers during this difficult time. I can only imagine how comforting it was for Geoff to have your loving presence there with him in his final weeks, days, and hours.
    Peter and Dawn


  10. The grief is only equal to the amount of love we have for Geoff. Even though we knew that time was ending for Geoff in his “earth suit” we were still shocked that it happened so soon. My love and prayers are with all the Maul, Roberts and extended family.


  11. Derek,
    i feel a part of your grief and also your relief that Geoff’s pain and tears are past, and he is with the Lord May you and your family feel the Lord’s peace.
    Sincerely, clara Witt


  12. Reblogged this on Derek Maul: Words and Photographs for the Journey and commented:

    The passage of time is sometimes difficult to grasp. So it is hard to believe that it has been ten years since my brother Geoff completed the earthly part of his journey and slipped away into eternity. March 12, 2012.
    This post from 2012 is both a powerful memory and a very real invitation into life today.
    Peace – DEREK


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