As a young woman, I sung in a church choir in UK. I also rang (properly) the
church bells. I wore a cassock and a ruff and I took communion. I loved the
atmosphere of it all; I loved the singing, although the bell ringing was a
little scary. But the point is, it was how I grew up. Literally church three
times on a Sunday, not to mention the choir and bell practise. In reality, as I
grew up and worked with horses, suddenly Sunday wasn't a holy day but a day when
animals must be fed and exercised, and I developed a philosophy similar to what
(supposedly) the Dead Sea scrolls say, that God lives underneath every stone,
not necessarily within a church. I grew up, I travelled the world, a little bit,
I returned home. I didn't think about God much during this time. I just lived. I
married and popped out three sons. My husband is Canadian, so we moved from UK
to hopefully give our sons a more diverse life. We moved with a suitcase each,
an Irish Wolfhound and a lot of faith that 'everything would turn out'.  As
happened, it did very well, but that wasn't because of God, it was because of
hard work and adaptability.
Fast forward to 2011. I had one son living in  Malaysia as an interpreter, another in the Canadian military and another still  in school. I get a phone call - your son is missing. This was my military son who had served two tours in Afghanistan; who had saved many many lives through his work in diffusing IEDs. Back in Edmonton, he goes missing on a training run for a race.
The short story is that he slipped on ice and drowned in the river that ran close by where he was running. The long story is what that did to those he left behind. Which is where I intersect with others who face loss, because in every word a dying many writes I see the same grief as I feel as losing a son. That hopeless helpless feeling of utter frustration.
In the question of - Is there life after death - yes, I can say there is - just too many coincidences to deny, but can I relate them to faith or God? No, I can relate them to spiritualism, however.
Like many I am a writer, and while I am not a 'professional' as some are, I use my imagination to reach people through words, and, yes, I write science fiction and fantasy, more often than not about the human 'condition'.
Through my experiences as a mother who has lost a child, no matter if he was 25, he was still my child. I have always believed in a higher power. But when you start to label and categorize anything, you place it within a box which says, this is the way it is. You start worshipping that small box because you are clinging to a belief that somewhere, somehow, there is something better and if I pay or give gratitude, then I may share it. You create a religion.
I do not deny there is a higher power which/who shapes us, but is its name 'God' then I begin to question. As I questioned *everything* when my son passed. And note I say passed and not died. Because I do think there is a kind of afterlife. That isn't faith, that is simply the experiences I have had since my son left. I don't know, exactly, what those experiences are. I cannot say 'God' because, whatever you believe in has many faces.
I do know there are spirits, or spirits as humanity interprets them. Are those echoes, like radio waves, which bounce off the ether, or are they more godlike or angel-like
beings - I don't know. There is *something*. Which indeed gives me faith that
dying isn't so terrifying after all.
True faith is an enviable emotion. That utter conviction in 'what is'. But for me, as a soldier's mum, who saw her son go to help another nation in extremis and possibly came back so broken by his experiences, uh ha. If God tests us, why indeed does he take the good. To me that is illogical, and blind faith cannot answer it. I remember writing after the phone call I  got - yes, it was a phone call - that, the angels better have a damned good reason for this one. A thing which the media picked up from my FB page and posted for the world to see. I was hurt at that lifting of privacy in
some ways but understood it in another - that the 'world' needed an answer.
Well, I never got an answer for my son's death Not one. Not how or who or why or
even where. Just vague references from police and military. So the next thing I
knew was that the 'internet' had decided that he had to have taken his own life
etc etc. Fortunately I am not a fool. Fortunately I knew my own son extremely
well. Then people would turn up at my door and say - he's at peace now. Because
that was what they believed.
But many use this word 'empirical' based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.
Is there logic when you get a visitation? Is there logic when pictures leap off the wall, or you hear the voice of a loved one who has passed on? No, of course there isn't. So you start looking for answers - any answers -you look for proof that life after death exists.
You might indeed ask God, or psychics, or anyone who can give you a definitive answer. But no one can. Not definitively. They can only pat you on the back and say - there, there, there.
But as with faith in a Christian God, you know there is something. You
can't deny it, yet you can't explain it. So you must have faith. The same faith
as those who would form jihads in the name of their God, who is, actually, the
same God. So forgive me as the mother who has lost a son, for not believing in
one god, who on one hand would let women and children and men suffer so much and in another take those who would protect them. And on the other who would
supposedly take those who suffer onto  a higher plane - Heaven.
When you give birth, you never, quite, cut that cord. You retain the essence of what and who you delivered into this world, and that essence never leaves you. It never
leaves his friends his lovers, his family, and in that essence is memory. Is
that life after death? It could well be. Memory, so strong it cannot be denied.
Or it could be something so much more. I don't know, but I don't think 'God' is
responsible. At least not the God we created to pacify ourselves.


01/04/2014 9:57am

You have so eloquently put into words something that I have long believed, that we retain the essence of what and who our children are. This is something I think on some level have always known Could this be the reason a mothers love is so unique?

01/04/2014 3:36pm

Thanks, Dee. There is also the fact that as mothers we do retain some of the placenta when we give birth, so we 'are' still joined in some ways. We share so much in the womb that I don't think we can let go of the connection with our children.


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