Archive for the ‘death’ Category

Pondering Matt's Passing and More Questions of Afterlife Significance

This morning as I looked over status postings on Facebook, one caught my attention, then lurched my stomach into my throat. The older sister of a high school acquaintance posted that he had passed away during the night. As I understand it, Matt had been battling a very nasty type of cancer, pursuing experimental treatments with determination and a strong will to survive. Apparently it wasn’t enough to keep his physical body functioning any longer.

I’m not sure why things like this get to me. Maybe it’s his proximity to my own age. Maybe it’s the fact that I personally know someone somewhere who is hurting. Maybe it’s my own curiosity and fascination with death and beyond. Or maybe it’s just the fact that even though we weren’t what anyone would consider “buds”, he was at one point a pleasant presence in my life on a daily basis and now he is gone. It sort of weirds me out.

I’ve never been present with a person at the moment they release their grip on life, yet I have talked with those who have been in that position. I recently witnessed a baby chick’s passing. Knowing what I’ve heard others say, and knowing what I saw with that baby chick, I can only suggest that witnessing the departure of a human spirit is every bit as amazing and gripping as witnessing the birth and first breath of a newborn baby.

I have many questions surrounding Spirit and the birth/death transition times. I had previously assumed that the spirit which accompanies a person into this life is his/her own spirit, created just for that person, having never before existed and destined to spend an eternity in heaven or hell. As blind, ignorant religious belief has given way to a wider view of possibilities, the questions in my mind have surfaced in an almost rapid-fire fashion.

At what precise moment does a spirit enter the human body? Does it happen at the moment a sperm connects with an egg? Does it happen once the egg implants in the uterus? Does it happen later in gestation? Does it happen at the moment of the baby’s first breath?

Where does that spirit originate? Does God “create” a new spirit each and every time conception occurs? Is it possible that he doesn’t create new spirits with each new life? Could it be that we all exist eternally in another dimension and when needed or whenever we choose to experience something, we plan a trip to Humanville to hang out for awhile? If so, that means we bring a cast of willing characters with us, some of whom are not nice people in our human lives. What does that do to the concept of judgment, heaven and hell?

What happens to our spirit when we sleep? Does it just go neutral for awhile, or are we like the Avatar of James Cameron’s visionary movie, living two different experiences simultaneously?

And then we arrive back at the whole concept of death. Passing away, as we like to call it in polite company. Traditional Christianity firmly believes the soul goes somewhere to await a judgment day and heaven or hell, though specifics of exactly when and how that process occurs vary widely. There is a story in the Bible of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus was in paradise and the rich man was in torment. The rich man wanted God to send Lazarus back to his family to warn them they should be nicer to poor people. God refused citing the futility of the effort. Notice he didn’t say that Lazarus couldn’t go back with a warning, but rather that it wouldn’t do any good. What does that say about the ability of spirits to return to the world of the living?

That brings me to my fascination with the experiences of loved ones after the death has occurred. These occurrances lead me to believe our religious views of death may be a bit…..wrong. My brother-in-law passed away Thanksgiving Day 2001. At some point during the week that followed, my husband got into the suburban, started it up, and found the radio station tuned to my brother-in-law’s favorite. My husband was and remains convinced that it was Alex’s way of letting him know things were cool with him.

An acquaintance relayed the story of the tragic passing of her sister, who had not been living her life quite the way her religious parents thought was necessary to get the fast pass into heaven. There was apparently quite a bit of grief and turmoil over the potential final destination for her soul/spirit. One night, her dad awoke to see his deceased daughter standing at the foot of the bed reassuring him that she was fine. Was this a distraught man’s psychotic episode? I don’t know. I prefer to believe her spirit knew he needed to hear from her one last time, and so she gave him that gift.

A friend of mine experienced the passing of her mother a few months ago. Her mother was a pianist and loved her piano with all her heart. My friend shared the story of a recent night when her dad awoke at 2 AM, got out of bed to get a drink of water in the kitchen, and discovered an owl had flown down the chimney and was sitting on her mom’s beloved piano. Instead of being startled, he calmly opened the appropriate doors and allowed the owl to fly out. Of all the places in that house the owl could have landed, it chose the piano. It is difficult to think it could be anything other than her mom’s calm reassurance that she is okay.

More recently a co-worker (and definitely a friend) shared her story of the passing of her grandmother a few years ago. They had a special bond that involved butterflies. The experience she described as her grandmother departed is only surpassed by the experience she has since had with butterflies. Butterflies land on her now as never before. She knows what it is, even if others choose to believe it is coincidence.

How is it that these things can occur, if not by the spirit of the person who has passed on?

All of these questions and occurances along with many more to numerous to include here flood over me as I think about Matt’s early exit from this human life. All I can say to his family is I send you abundant energies of love and peace, and I trust that when you witness the evidence of his reassurance, you will share your story with others.

Enjoy the other side, Matt.

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