That brings up one of the many the questions I have.
When my husband died at the young age of 47, does that mean that he is forever 47? Or does he age along with the rest of us? What exactly do we celebrate on someone’s birthday? Their physical living presence in this world or their, for lack of another term, spiritual presence?
In other words, when does a person become a person that ages?
Please, let me make this perfectly clear, I am not diving into the cesspool of the great abortion debate of how many cells does a baby make.
But I am trying to understand when a person becomes a person in the minds of others. Because that, I think, is what we use to celebrate birthdays. Some philosophers believe that we are alive as long as we think, learn and evolve. So in their definition, my husband would still be 47. Others believe that as long as the memory and influence of a person exists they are still alive, just in a different format. But the term 'birthday' seems to specify the anniversary of the day that they arrived here on earth. Does that definition end when they die?
So once again, is my husband still 47 or did he turn 48 today?
I’m having a little trouble today formulating my thoughts because this is a confusing subject. It is a subject influenced by culture, religion and our ever present governmental regulations.
Because basically, I am talking about life after death. Now, that’s a topic that could swamp the internet with views, beliefs and arguments. Millions of gigabytes of data have been created just on this subject alone.
Do we really die? Does our consciousness live on? Can we hover around our loved ones, helping them in any way? Do we haunt the place where we die or are we destined to stay where our body is? Can we take ghostly vacations and hop on a cruise ship to the Bahamas? Are we reincarnated so we can do it all over again? Is there Heaven? Is there Hell? How about Purgatory?
“God created the Heavens and the Earth” is a quote that many believe in. Just as many believe in the theory of evolution as defined by Darwin. The believers in each have been shouting over the fence at one another for decades about who is right and who is wrong.
Me, I believe that both are correct.
We do have scientific proof of evolution in both man and beast. Which leads to the hypothesis that at some time, somewhere in the primordial ooze a couple of amino acids got together, decided to hang out, and invited theirs friends to join them. After a few millennium of heavy partying, one thing led to another and the first chain of life was created.
But where did that primordial ooze come from? And who bumped those random little cells together in the exact combination from which we all descend from?
We also have scientific proof that the universe is expanding, which creates the theory that at one time the universe was a lot smaller and that there was a big bang that caused everything to start moving outward.
But who gathered all of that solid matter and gases into a giant celestial firecracker?
Something cannot be made from nothing, so someone had to make the something first.
That’s where I think God stepped in.
Why did God do this? Dunno. In, hopefully at least, another 50 years maybe I’ll get a chance to ask Him.
But then again, why do we create plays and music and art? Because we enjoy watching, listening and looking at it. Maybe we are God’s reality TV show. There is a certain format to follow, an underlying plot line, but all of the rest is entirely up to us. God probably lit the fuse on the sky rocket that contained ‘all of the Heavens’. Then stirred the primordial soup that He created from His recipe book causing the little nubile molecules cruising toward each other. And then sat back to watch the show. Shakespeare may have hit a bulls eye with his “all the world’s a stage” philosophy.
So that brings me back to the whole ‘what happens after we die’ question.
I really don’t know.
My husband believed in Heaven. So does that mean that it really exists whether he believed in it or not? Or does it mean that it does exist for him because he believed?
I try to believe. I want to believe.
When I was younger I wholeheartedly said my prayers, learned all about the Bible in Sunday School, talked to God, believed that if I died before I ‘wake’ that God would take my soul to Heaven. (Although looking back as an adult, that’s a pretty frightening thought for a kid. No wonder I wanted to stay up all night.)
Now? Well now, that simple black and white thinking of good and evil is a little more muddled together in various shades of grey. There are nuances that my adult mind ponders about. Little caveats that cast doubts about such a simplistic viewpoint of the afterlife.
We watch the paranormal shows and hear the EVP’s and knocks and watch chairs move and shadows glide around fervently. We see the video, hear the audio. Proof that there is some sort of existence beyond death.
In fact, our house is haunted, Has been for years. I’ll hear my husband call me when he didn’t, or he heard me call him when I didn’t. Visitors will see someone walk across the porch when no one is there. The four footed furry brigade will all sit and stare at the same empty spot. Sometimes wagging their tails, other times slinking away. Shadows big and small darting around, back and forth, in the corner of our vision. We have had several witnesses to this phenomenon so we know it isn’t just in our minds.
It has never bothered us or scared us, although the lady who cleans my house does tend to turn up her music and sing loudly when she is here by herself while avoiding the one empty corner where the dogs gather around and have a staring contest with whatever or whomever.
So if these paranormal incidents indicate that there are spirits still on earth, is that because there is no Heaven? Or did they turn down or postpone the chance to go so they can hang around here? How about those poor souls that linger in huge gloomy empty buildings? Surely they didn’t choose to spend eternity haunting dust bunnies and an ever exploding rat population.
Is my husband trapped in this limbo? Is everyone who is deceased gathered around the spectral water cooler swapping stories and watching the rest of us try to keep going?
I would hope that if my husband could help, he was right here doing all that he can to make life a little smoother for me. The same as I would want to do for him if the tables were turned. But so far, I haven’t won the lottery and Publisher’s Clearing House hasn’t knocked on my door.
Although I hear a few more knocks and bangs in the dark, I haven’t experienced any extra activity around the house. I would think that my husband, who was/is an extremely intelligent man, would figure out a way to show me that he was here. Or maybe he’s in ghost school learning the 101 rules of haunting and needs his diploma before swooping down and auditioning for the next episode of Ghost Hunters.
But then again, maybe he is surrounded by his parents, grandparents, past pets, ancestors and old friends, busy reminiscing and obeying the hands-off rule from Heaven. Watching as we fumble along trying to figure things out because doing is the best way to learn and learning is why we are alive.
So again I pose the question – if there is an afterlife and if my husband is in it, did he turn one year older?
Well to me, my husband did turn 48 today. Because his influence is still here. The essence of him has existed for 48 years. And through me, his friends and family he still lives on and will live on for many, many years.