When is the same not the same?

This morning I woke up sad.  It wasn’t a weeping type of sad, rather a lost kind of sad.  I deviated from my normal routine and sat on the bed in front of my husband’s urn and spoke to him.  All I really wanted today was  a sign, some little thing that would let me know he’s still around.  I miss him terribly, I told him so and asked him to give me a sign that he’s still around.  The day has almost passed and there has been no overt sign.  There is nothing evident that could even come near a sign.  No chimes ringing in the wind, no dimes on the floor, no hummingbirds at the bird feeder, nothing out of the ordinary. It has just been one more day in the long run of days since Kevin’s death the end of March.

On the 28th of this month he would have turned 62.  I will have all the children home to honour what should have been.  Initially I had planned on interring his ashes on his birthday; but I am just not ready.  I recall after my father died how my mother had kept his ashes with her, moving them around the house, putting his eyeglasses in front of his urn so he could watch television with her.  It seemed incredibly unbalanced to me at the time, and still does seem a little odd, but I think I understand it a bit better now.  I don’t move Kevin’s ashes around the house, but I will stop in front of his urn and touch it.  I will talk to it, to him, when I feel sad.  Much like you would see in a cemetery – people visit graves to find comfort, to try to connect with the people they love; I view Kev’s urn as a conduit to some other dimension or existence.  His new place of being.

I continue to read the book, “Broken Open”, by Elizabeth Lesser. It is slow going, not because the book is complicated, because it’s not – it’s slow because the subject is a demanding one for me.  The book is showing signs of being a comforting and therefore valuable read for me.  Early in the book, Ms Lesser quotes from biochemist and cell biologist, Rupert Sheldrake.  It was such a thought-provoking quote that I have already shared it with a few of my friends, and share it here:

“If we compare the dead body of a person or animal or plant with the living state that preceded it, we note that the amount of matter in the dead body is the same as in the living body.  The form of the body is also the same, and so are the chemicals in it, at least immediately after death.  But something has changed.  The most obvious conclusion is that something has left the body, and since there’s no change in weight, that which has left is essentially immaterial.  That immaterial something can be called the soul.” (Broken Open, pg. 3)

It’s a logical summary to which some might reply, ‘so what, what does that prove?’  But think about it – really think about it.  When is the same, not the same?  One answer is – in death.  Consider, if the soul is the reason a being lives, is the soul actually the being?  These are the types of questions that have me sitting in front of Kevin’s urn – asking for a sign, any sign.

It’s Four Months Now

Today marks four months since my husband, Kevin, died. As I write this post, it’s eight o’clock in the evening. By this time four months ago the doctor had already pronounced Kevin’s death, she’d done check in on me, my children, and my sister-in-law and she’d provided us with instructions about the next phase of activity. We were to contact the funeral home we’d selected for Kevin’s service. They would send out some attendants to take him on the final leg of his journey – to the funeral home, and after the funeral service, to the crematorium. The doctor told us that once we called the home, they’d come fairly quickly, so to take whatever time we needed to say our good-byes, since this would be the last time Kevin would ever be in his own house, our home.

As stated, once the call was made to the funeral home, the attendants arrived fairly quickly. They brought in a gurney and moved Kevin onto it and inside a well concealed body bag. A pillow was put under his head, a blanket over his body. The attendants then discreetly left us, the family, with Kevin for a couple of minutes. Tough one, that. How do you let go, I mean really let go? For me this was letting go without something to replace it. There was no new beginning for us, this was an unequivocal end. Kevin was gone.

It’s not that part of me died that day too, not at all. Death stops the pain. Instead for me, and the rest of the family, we suffered an injury to our spirits, a piercing of our souls; something happened that can’t be seen but that dwells deep in our hearts and minds. Four months have passed, four long, low months. Every month brings new firsts and, I’ve been told, that the second year is pretty much the same. From the moment we are born we start the journey to our inevitable end, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier when death comes calling. Even a friend with a profound religious faith stated that the loss of someone dear shook them to their spiritual core; the unanswerable questions almost overwhelming their relationship with, and belief in, God.

So are there lessons? Does one get stronger after the death of a loved one? I’m on to the next book loaned to me – “Broken Open – How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow” by Elizabeth Lesser. Perhaps some useful insights will present themselves through this book.