A death and a birth (both). It’s good to have a model once the inevitable pain arises.
Wikipedia: The repetitive lyrics are believed to have a connection with mythology. The song describes the ferryman as “the hooded old man at the rudder,” and seems to connect to the classic image of the Grim Reaper, a hooded being (usually a skeleton) who leads lost souls to “the other side,” also a lyric in the song.The ferryman demanding his payment is also similar to the Greek ferryman of the dead, Charon. He demanded an obolus (coin) to ferry dead souls across the River Styx. Those who did not pay were doomed to remain as ghosts, remaining on the plane of the mare, the restless dead. Therefore in former cultures coins were laid below the tongues of dead persons.
Psychopomp [guide of the souls]: In Jungian psychology, the psychopomp is a mediator between the unconscious and conscious realms. It is symbolically personified in dreams as a wise man or woman, or sometimes as a helpful animal. In many cultures, the shaman also fulfills the role of the psychopomp. This may include not only accompanying the soul of the dead, but also vice versa: to help at birth, to introduce the newborn child’s soul to the world (p. 36 of). This also accounts for the contemporary title of “midwife to the dying,” which is another form of psychopomp work.