Have you ever noticed Final Fling’s logo has a full stop in it? The big full stop – my view of afterlife.
You see I believe we die and we’re done, gone.
I was with my dad when he died. His ‘passing’ was electric: it felt like 5,000 volts leapt from him to me and then he was gone. His departure was absolutely palpable.
I never did believe in heaven and hell but before I’d seen a dead body, I didn’t really understand what the transition meant from this life to the afterlife. Seeing a dead body was the greatest gift. It’s SO not alive. Barely even a relation of the person who has just died. A Madame Tussauds close likeness is about all.
I’m working on a group project exploring Spirituality and Belief in the context of death and have been interviewing others and checking in with myself on what my own beliefs are.
I believe our spirit is what lives on – our stories, our influences, our habits and sayings. Some of our material possessions – a lock of hair, piece of jewellery, a book, a stone – may carry meaning beyond its intrinsic material self.
I understand for others – like my lovely friend, Brother Finbar, a monk at Pluscarden Abbey, Morayshire’s Benedictine Monastery – this life is just an apprenticeship for the next one. And for him, the afterlife is the opportunity to meet his maker in heaven.
Some might think my view bleaker but I’m not worried. My sense of being dead is just as life was before I was born. I don’t remember it, didn’t have any sense of loss or missing out before I became conscious. I’m imagining it’ll be a grand expanse of that time. Restful.
I think both views offer comfort.
The heaven view definitely offers more hope but I’d worry that might make me complacent in this life, like not really paying attention to the warm-up act, waiting for the main event.
I do have some odd wee moments that I don’t know where to file and don’t try to make sense of. Like seeing a butterfly in my dad’s room in his late stages and feeling sure that was mum. (I only last week heard that in Gaelic culture – mum’s forebears’ roots – the butterfly symbolises the soul.) Seeing a seal pop out to say hello when I was skinny dipping with friends one Summer Solstice and again just thining, ‘there’s mum’. It doesn’t fit into a belief system I hold with but it works for me.
Spirituality and belief means all sorts of things to all sorts of people. Don’t get too hung up on it. Just make your beliefs work for you and give yourself the time, space, support, nourishment and connection that feeds your spiritual needs.