Friday, April 30, 2010

before and after

My three year old nephew, Gabe, told my sister, "Uncle Jeff died, but he still has his imagination."
I love this idea. The belief that 'his imagination' or mind is still intact brings me huge relief and comfort.
What I find interesting is that I am completely willing to believe this to be true. I know that some of my willingness comes fromt he need to believe that Jeff is still with me and the other comes from the somehow inexplicable belief that our society or maybe species has that children and the dying have some inherent knowledge that is lost to the rest of us while in adulthood and good health.
Why is this? We only humour our little ones when they tells us that elephants also come decorated in green polkadots aside from the standard issue 'pachyderm grey'. We smile patronizingly when patient in hospice swears that they will go on a vacation to Disneyland before they pass.
But if a member of either of these two groups tells us something of life 'before' or 'after', we are apt to stare hopefully and relay these messages on to all who will listen. We claim that it is because they are closer to the 'before' and 'after'....But I worry that this is part of the fairytale we tell ourselves.
I do often think of the things that Jeff said to me the night before he died. I know he was feeling ill and he was the classic stereotype of a sick guy making him feel crabby and sad. But some of the things he said, although painful and sad, they also give me 'hope' of sorts, that he knew something I didn't....
So, I will cling to my hope that Jeff still retains his imagination and hang off the words of little ones and those whose bodies are beginning to fail to house their soul....Even if it is a silly belief, it brings me comfort to believe he is with us, holding me when I cry, encouraging me and smiling at his little ones.


  1. What a wonderful message. Thanks so much for sharing this. I too often question the idea that they are still with us, or somehow communicate with us. But just when I'm about to fall deeper into my grief, something makes me sense him reaching out to me, and I completely buy into it.

    I think it is just too painful to imagine that they are not thinking of us, as we are of them.

  2. I know my husband is still with me. I firmly believe that it isn't a question of whether he is, it's a question of whether I will allow myself to not question it. When I have needed him, he has let me know in many ways that he is there. He has not left my side. Some may think I am crazy, I don't care, it is amazing and magical to feel that life is more than just who we are and what is physically in front of us. If we can believe in God, with no proof of his existence, then why can't we believe that the ones who love us the most are still with us and they give us proof of their love?

  3. I have seen too much - tangible, real, seen-by-others - to believe that there is nothing after physical death. Whether these things come from my love, or from god, or from quantum physics, I have no way to know. but Something is there, and I will take any comfort I can. I have to believe there is more here - I did before the accident, and I can't stop now.


  4. This is one of the coolest things i have read since I lost my husband 54 days ago. I love the idea that Rich "still has his imagination"!!!

  5. I love this. I have no idea where I stand on the idea of life after death; the only thing I know is that I *don't* know. My husband was an atheist and definitely did not believe in life after death, at least when he was alive. When he died two months ago, I promised myself not to cling to false hopes... but I've had two experiences now that lead me to wonder and to hope that something of him still remains. And I'm choosing to be comforted by those experiences and not pick them apart trying to explain the unexplainable. I do love the idea of Mike still having his mind, which always fascinated me, and his imagination, which was potent. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. I choose to believe, too. XOXO