Tag: Oblivion

Called death

Weather Report from the Other Side

When I’m in a cold lonely place and feeling down, like tonight in 13-degree (-10 C) Upstate New York, I think of my wife who is in a far colder and lonelier place.

Fourteen months ago in Intensive Care I held her hand, still warm in mine, to me a sign of life, and watched the moving line on the life-support machine and talked to unconscious mind because I was told that hearing and touch are the last sensations to go and the hours went by and her hand turned cold and the nurse said it’s time and the machine was turned off and I was cast into a void of loneliness and fear. People lose loved ones every day so I’m not putting myself in a special category, I’m just telling my story.

In the hellish months since, well-meaning people have talked to me about God and Heaven, and I have tried to understand and embrace the notion, but in the end (as of tonight anyway) they remain fantasies — wonderful and lovely fantasies to be sure, but to my mind, illusions (I could say delusions, if I wanted to be cynical, but I don’t want to be cynical, I want to keep, as they say, an open mind).

Fourteen months to the day and the loss and the pain have never diminished, and, despite prayers and desperate cries in the night for the faintest presence of her spirit, some kind of sign from an “after life,” a glimmer of hope from “God” — nothing.

All my stubbornly realistic mind can grasp is that my wife is in an oblivion that is colder and lonelier than where I am tonight in 13-degrees Upstate New York.

Lighten up, dude!

‘Imagine there’s no heaven…’


Man, I wish I was a Catholic. Catholics have it made. They believe in God, they believe in Life After Death, they believe in Heaven. A member of the bereavement group I used to belong to said to me at one of the meetings: I miss my wife so much but I know I’ll be with her in Heaven.

To which I replied:

Then why the hell are you in this group, man? This group is for bereaved people who have lost loved ones and will never see them again. You’re like a guy who just put his wife on a plane knowing you will join her later in a wonderful vacation spot. I do not have such a belief, or any such expectation. I wish the hell I did. All I know is I have lost my wife forever and will grieve for her for the rest of my life, whereas you are temporarily—not even bereaved—but temporarily without your wife. You, sir, are an imposter.

That was my last meeting.

As far as I can see — and I’m not saying that is the ultimate horizon, but it is as far as I can see — death ends in oblivion, and oblivion is a place, a real place — we were all there before we were born — whereas “heaven” is not a place, not a real place, it is an unreal place or at best a surreal place, where fearful or highly imaginative imaginations imagine themselves going when they die, to be reunited with loved ones and so on and so forth.

But, alas, according to all the evidence, it is highly unlikely to happen — but here is the saving grace for believers (bless their souls), they will never know if it doesn’t happen because they will be in oblivion where there is no awareness or sensibility or anything at all, in fact, nothing but black unknowing unconscious emptiness.

So therefore, accepting, or at least suspecting that there is no heaven, the heaven as imagined by over-imaginations, and since it is more likely (as far as I can see) to be a black oblivion that awaits us all, I would gladly (rather than linger ungladly in a living hell of grief) go to oblivion to join my wife, for even though I won’t know it, I will be with her again, albeit in a world of nonexistence.

To which my lighter self said: Lighten up, dude! Have another brandy and go to bed. Somewhere there are wildflowers.