Tag: Afterlife

The silence of the dead is deafening

When I was twelve years old I rode my bike twenty miles to sit at my brother’s grave. I talked to him through the earth. I asked him if he could hear me.

He was my older brother, twenty-four when he died on the side of the road, his head cradled in the arms of his best friend. His best friend had been driving the car and took a bend in the road too fast.

I have never received an answer from my brother.

When I was in my forties I sat on a balcony in Miami and asked my son (a Star Trek fan) to send me a signal from space, a sign that he was aware in some unknown dimension or otherworld or æthereal state of wave-being.

He was twenty-three when he swallowed enough barbiturates to kill himself three times over.

I have never received a signal from my son.

Now I am in my seventies and I sit in an armchair in the living room—now known as the dead room—of my bungalow on County Road 9 and pray to my wife to send me a sign that she can hear me, anything will do I tell her, the slightest hint, the briefest sensation, the merest brush of some sort of presence of her spirit.

For a day and a night I sat at her bedside in Intensive Care and held her hand in mine. She was deeply unconscious but her hand was warm in mine. I took that as a sign of life, of hope. I sat there for hours. Her hand grew cold.

I am still in the dead room, praying for a sign from my wife, a glimmer of hope that she is aware in some empyrean sphere.

My hope-beyond-hope spiritual longings appear to be hopeless. I conclude from these futile attempts to commune with the dead that if you wait long enough, nothing happens.

The life saving sanctum of remembrance

I’ll say this in one long sentence and then I’ll shut the hell up and have a brandy and go to bed.

My wife had a big heart and for thirty-four years I was inside it and when her heart stopped beating I was suddenly and shockingly cast into a void, where I suspect she is now, in an oblivion and not, as her Catholic faith led her to believe, in an afterlife of continuing energy and awareness in some divine sphere or dimension — and my only corporeal salvation, for what it’s worth, is that the void in which I now survive is surrounded by the warmth and the strength, the spirit and the ethereal companionship of her memory, and it is that in which I now wrap myself as protection from the fear of loneliness and the suicidal yearning to be with her, knowing as my intelligence perceives, notwithstanding the well-meaning help and advice of the church and its dedicated believers, the stark reality of death.