I think about death a lot. It is the Great Unknown. It’s the one guaranteed thing we are all destined to experience, yet we know almost nothing of it. We know of the effect of death on those around it, but not of what happens to those that die. We don’t even know if anything happens beyond death. We may hold beliefs, but we don’t have knowledge. I think depending on your outlook, this could be viewed as either terrifying, or exciting. I also think a lot about religion, spirituality, life, and what comes next. This isn’t the time to get into my (somewhat) complex personal beliefs, and I find it much more interesting to think about the subject in a broader context.
During times when I have experienced the death of family members, it has interested me in how those left behind deal with it. In my experience, they often become uncharacteristically spiritual. In witnessing this, I was unsure as to whether those people really truly believed what they were saying, or if it was just a way to deal with the grief.
I grew up in a family setting that promoted the message that all religion and spirituality is utter bullshit. To the point of holding a spiritual belief was a source of mockery. Yet, when my grandmother died, something unexpected happened. Family members started talking about her being in heaven, and watching over us. They would go to see mediums and believe she made contact. They would speculate on who was waiting for her on the other side. A white feather became a message from beyond the grave. This sudden spirituality was only ever in reference to my late grandmother, and remained utter bullshit in all other areas. That was until my grandfather died, and then the same beliefs were bestowed upon the memory of him. The way these people used spirituality, religion, and beliefs in the supernatural as a way to find comfort in dealing with sadness became a great source of fascination to me. I still think about those moments 15 years on.
Emotions, especially those of grief and loss, can often feel deeply powerful, true, and all consuming. Yet if people overcome them by something as simple as telling themselves a lie that they know they don’t believe, then those emotions must be incredibly fragile. Or is it that people do believe what they are saying in the moment? In which case, how fickle is their belief system to start with? And where would it stop? What else would they start to believe, no matter how irrational, if it brought them comfort? I don’t really have any answers to those questions, and I’m not really trying to formulate a concrete stance, or judge people for doing what is right for them. But I wrote a story, in part, inspired by such behaviour.
Anyway, I’m off to shine a torch at an owl. Until next time, Peace and Love!