(I don't like that Safari web browser, not at all! So, now here I go with my response to Deb's post)
Deb’s post brought up so many thoughts, feelings, belief’s and hopes that I wanted to post about this topic myself and share some stories that support my own theories.
I have no idea why, but my very firm belief is that when we die, we get a chance to do anything that our heart or soul desires - in any timeframe, in any place and with anyone. Sort of an after-life vacation. At some point the dead person (ghost? Spirit?) has to move on – but there is no timetable, no pressure, no “deadline”. You do what needs to be done. You close circles. You complete things/feelings.
Some of my stories:
My Grandma died when I was about 18. I adored her; she was everything that a grandma should be. I admired her, and leaned on her. To me she was warm and loving but not so much to others in my family, to them she appeared practical and down to earth with little sentimentality. Since she died I have seen and felt her in very mundane situations – sitting in our foyer – giving us advice on how to clean floors. To me she has sent familiar smells – reminding me of warm kitchens and love. The last time she really visited us was in 1989 when my brother was getting married. We were all at Grandma’s old house and she came to visit us that day - as a bird – we ALL knew it was her – she perched on our shoulders and bit her son (they never got along). We have pictures of her in our family gallery – “here’s grandma as a person, and here she is as a bird. “ – (Mom will actually say this to people!) I think that she just wanted to see us all together that day, and especially to see one of her favorite grandchildren get married. (she adored my brother too).
Grandma hasn’t been around lately; I think she’s moved on somewhere and her need for me/and mine for her has also moved on – in a good way.
Very close friend Isabel died in 1999 – but before she died she made it known that she was up for new adventures. Isabel knew my peculiar beliefs and we occasionally chatted about what we would do when we had the chance to do anything we wanted. After she died – I just know that Isabel was off to meet authors and artists, and historical figures. Since she was in the middle of writing a book about the Mary Celeste – I know for SURE that she found out what the actual story was and is gleeful about knowing. Isabel was a terrific gardener, and while she doesn’t come for visits very often, I sometimes feel her over my shoulder when I am gardening – actually nagging at me to get those weeds or plant something more interesting – “for god’s sake Mim – use your imagination!”
When my absolutely favorite dog died I felt that he stayed close for a long time to make sure I was OK and because he loved me so. Samson was one of those very loyal, yet slightly dumb dogs who looks at you with complete and total devotion. He was very old and sick, and I had just gone to bed at about 3:00 am after sitting up with him. At 4:00 I woke up KNOWING that he had just passed thru the room to say goodbye – ran downstairs and it was true. My boy. He visits me often and since he had little ambition aside from Frisbee and water and sleeping – he is very happy where he is. And I also know that he had/was/is the soul of my previous dog (who I also adored) and frankly, one of the reasons that I haven’t gotten a new dog yet is that I’m waiting to meet Parker/Samson again. I’ll know him when I see him.
Lucile, sister in law, college friend - died two and 1/2 years ago and I know that she has had a lot of work to do after her death. She had a tough life, but I don’t think her vacation is all play. She visits occasionally, and we laugh together, and then she’s off to her work again. Her kids were “grown” when she died but they weren’t really – only 18 and 20! I know that in her own way she is watching them grow and trying to do for them what she can. It is all I can do NOT to ask Claire if she’s seen or heard from her mom. I don’t want the crazy aunt label more that I already have it.
So what do I believe? I believe that we have choices and that the things that we need to complete have to be addressed in some way. I believe that we get “time” to do these things – some kind of different time than we as mortals are used to, but time to learn, work things out, explore, visit. I think if we left this world after a long sickness, we get the chance to enjoy a sort-of physical body again and relish the healthiness of it. And maybe if we die suddenly, we have to hang around and finish off a few things before moving onto the fun things to do. I don’t know, but I know that we have some choices! I often wonder if little pieces of one’s soul are left behind in those we cherished and loved, and that little piece of soul needs to join the bigger piece – so the “visits” continue until that passage is complete.
Of course, no matter what I think or believe – I still mourn and grieve for that tangible relationship with those I love. I am a human after all, and how I wish I had my girlfriends around still, and my family…and my doggie.
Deb wrote, “I wish I could cherish all moonrises the way I cherish the one tonight-simply because I'm here to see it. Really, just being here is a gift we often overlook. If you are here, reading this, I wish for you the same sense of joy I have at this moment, watching the moon. Glad to be here” and I can relate to her sense of trying to hold on to that fleeting moment of peace, acceptance and understanding. I also yearn for it, and have only experienced this once or twice – I mean REALLY experienced it. There are many, many times that I truly feel grateful, and happy, and complete just being on this wonderful earth, in this amazing life. But one time that I can remember – just between sleeping and waking - I absolutely felt at one with the world – a great sense of peace had overwhelmed me. It was a feeling from somewhere else, and didn’t belong in the day-to-day world. But it completely reinforced what I believe about what happens after death, that sense of utter peace, love , joy and freedom. Maybe some people wait to be born again. Maybe some go exploring. Maybe some stay nearby those who needed them, and who they need. Maybe some continue to be unhappy – I don’t know what happens to them in the long run! I believe that what happens is what you need to happen.
Does this make any sense at all? It does to me.