Why is sadness our immediate reaction to loss? Do we not believe there's something better awaiting those who go before us? Yet I collapsed in deepest grief when my Mother .... my Father ....
I cry when someone hurts and not confused by those tears, I join people in grieving when they lose a dear one, I attend funerals and wakes and I pray and cry once again. I light candles, I make special intentions. The rituals of humanity in the face of what we can't explain - death. Why now? Why in such pain? Why them? Why so young? To be human - you do. You question. Must.
When I ache, people say "Don't feel bad, alot have it so much worse." You mean don't feel bad because others suffer more?? I never did, I could never get relief from my own pain knowing someone else suffered more. Yet that's what we say to each other, and with all great and good intent, still it makes no sense.
I've been reading how many friends in JLand have lost loved ones, 2-legged and 4, how they grieve, how they reveal and express their pain. I join them and think how hollow a thing it is for me to say "how sad" yet how can we express our true selves and feelings for them? If it's sad, it's sad and you should cry. Yet I believe you should also remember what a gift it was having them in your life at all. Once you start to see daylight again, once your nights bring a bit of sleep with those tears, once you return to everyday tasks, how comforting to know life is so miraculous, and that for a short time, you had a special one close to you, a loved one, an unforgettable spark of energy existing in memory forever.
If life is a miracle, the continuation of life must be an incredulous, incomprehensible thing. And isn't that what "death" really is? The continuation of life on another plane? Yes, we cling to the comfort of our faith but all I truly see is that the body stops. I believe I have a soul, that's my personal choice. With no science to support me, I believe the soul can never know death, I have a personal faith in a God, as most do in some form, and call upon Him with gratitude as I ask for ease in times of loss. My mind knows it's only flesh decaying, my intellect tells me the "personhood" that once took residence in that flesh may not be within my grasp now, but wherever it exists and in whatever condition, it does live. I call it a soul, it may be the spirit of everything that person experienced while walking the earth, and in fact as many theologians ponder, it may be nowhere at all - oblivion. Inspired thinkers like Sts. Thomas Acquinas, Ignatius Loyola, Theresa of Avila, and the most religious of prophets all dwelt endlessly on the idea of oblivion, of nothingness, and if that was what awaited us. No body, no soul, perhaps the smallest speck of dust floating endlessly in a universe with no center, no edges. It's healthy to question what we cannot prove. Yet if true, then life would seem just a futile, fearful, painful and terribly difficult walk on a stony road to nowhere. Time would mean nothing.
But I believe in a soul. A part of me is not human, I can't explain it any more than you, it's of another energy, another plane, it's - to me - my God-part. The small speck of divinity that dwells "of" me put there by a Great Transcending Power I call God and think of as the essence of pure Love. This soul has no death, knows no hate, judges not, fears nothing, is never confused and exists in a state of love. I know my body will be stilled, decay, return to dust and be no more. I believe my soul will return into the "body" of its owner and maker, God.
Many will read this and believe it a form of "magical thinking", a way to understand and justify so many inexplicable things we live with, like the death of a beloved. Why be so quick to believe that more than their bodies have died? Why not consider that life is so unique, so rare and miraculous, that it must surely have a finer, fuller path to traverse after the body ceases? I chose to. Even if it's self-deception, I chose to. Not because it comforts me in times of sorrow, not because I was raised that way, not because I have the slightest bit of proof that it's viable and more true than not. I chose to believe because I can. My will is free.