Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The After Life

I have always had a weird fascination/obsession with death. It's so mysterious, the hereafter. Everyone has their own ideas about what it is - harps playing, a burning hole, a green garden, turning into a ghost, reincarnation, "beam me up, Scottie," a meeting with the worms and inevitable decay, or whatever.

The thing is, you can't really know. People of certain faiths believe and "know" they are right, but that is different from logically, physically actually knowing. I know that behind me is another room in my house, because I built the house and I've been in the room. But in someone else's house, I might believe there is a room behind me - and be completely wrong.

Having not yet died, I can't say what is in the next room.

But I am not here to argue the merits of after lives and whose ideas may be right or wrong. As I am writing this, I am facing another outpatient surgical procedure and I am terrified, so I am simply ruminating on what could be an outcome of the procedure.

And now it's the day after that outpatient surgery, and I survived. Modern medicine is amazing but it still doesn't always make you calm! Sometimes it scares you into, well, I don't know. A different frame of mind, for sure.

The good news is my multiple ulcers have healed and I am not longer bleeding from the inside out. The bad news is there is still some redness and inflammation in my tummy and so I have been told to stay on my medication.

Steps in the right direction, though.

Still don't know about the after life. Maybe it's like being put to sleep with medication, only you never wake up again. I have trouble with the images of harps and things in the Christian heaven; seems kind of boring. I also have issues with Hell, because I don't believe a loving god would create an eternal hell. What kind of forgiveness is that, to just send folks off to burn until the sun poofs out? That's pretty mean-spirited, if you ask me.

And ghosts? Well, I've actually seen a few things that make think that, at the least, there are energies that manifest themselves that we don't yet understand. I don't know if they are ghosts from the past or simply planes of being that we cannot experience. My ghost tales date back to my childhood and into my adulthood. We stayed at a house in West Virginia that belonged to a relatives that apparently was haunted - pipes clanking, spigots turning off and on, banjos playing at random in the night. I experienced that.

About 15 years ago now I was in a very late Board of Supervisors meeting in Craig County at the courthouse. This was before they were to begin renovating the building. As I sat there taking notes, a man dressed in a blue gray uniform, looking tattered and worn, simply walked up the aisle and passed in front of the supervisors, and then went into the next room. I looked around to see if anyone else saw anything, but no one appeared to see anything out of the ordinary. I knew it was a ghost. I thought it was a Civil War soldier.

Ten years ago I was driving to Fincastle in the middle of the day, and I looked over at a subdivision just outside of town. There sat a band of Native Americans on horses, surrounding a white guy. At the time I had a little part-time job in town and I was so shook up I could hardly work that afternoon.

I don't know about reincarnation, but when I was very small, I started telling my mother about the beheading of Mary Queen of Scotts, and talking about Scottish castles and tombstones. It scared my mother so much that she forbade me to talk of it anymore. I have a bit of Scottish ancestry in my blood; who knows what comes down through our genes. Or maybe I was a scullery maid in the 1500s.

My own personal thoughts on dying are this: your body turns into worm food, but your spirit moves into a different place, another plane of being. Maybe you soar among the stars. Maybe you do go to heaven and play harps. Maybe you float around until you come back as something else, a rabbit or another person or what-have-you. I don't know. I am - sometimes - envious of those folks with that "knowing" that's really faith, their belief in something that logic dictates they can't really know. They don't question and I suppose that brings them comfort. I question everything and always have, for as long as I can remember.

Why, when I was 10 my goal was to grow up and fly in airplanes until one of them disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle so I could find out what happened to them! One night when I was 12, I participated in a world-wide UFO watch, spending the night out in the field gazing at the skies until I fell asleep (this was organized back then, in the 1970s, through, I think, The National Enquirer, which my mother read and then passed on to me since I read everything put in front of me.)

There is so much we don't know about the world. I believe we only function in a certain sphere and the rest we only infrequently tap into. That other place can be reached by prayer, by certain alternative medicines (acupuncture and Reiki, for example), meditation, and things we've not even thought of.

I've felt it occasionally, that different place, but not long enough to understand it or even begin to do anything more than acknowledge it. I think humanity could, if it wanted, reach an entirely different state of being, one that dealt not only with the physical but also the abstract and the metaphysical, in a loving and beautiful way. Some religions attempt this, I think, but most fail because they are human constructs and as such give in to the greater pressures of society, mainly money and politics.

Anyway, enough of my confession of weirdness for the day. Moving along, nothing more to see here . . .


  1. first of all i am happy your health is turning in the right direction and second, i really enjoyed this post! amazing things you have seen!

  2. Nice to know it was out patient surgery and that you are home. I have not seen a ghost, but I did have one pass through me. Very strange sensation.

  3. An interesting topic, Anita. I'm glad your ulcers have healed. I've had enough experiences to make me believe in the possibilities, including a psychic experience at an Iron Age farm in Norway.


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