I was raised at half-power baptist. Sermons had a good amount of emotion, but also fair amount of analysis. The church I grew up in was, looking back, a huge outlier of goodness. All the families there helped each other out a fair amount, tried to help the community, etc. They were all genuine, there was no surface level goodness. People there were trying to be better people, to practice living like Christ in the bible lived. I realized around my mid 20s how very rare that was.
That information is important, because it strongly shaped my beliefs. I started questioning those beliefs in my early 20s, then oscillated back towards agnosticism at a minimum after getting into lower level Physics and Chemistry classes. (I should write about that sometime).
My family was a young family, and I wasn’t exposed to too much loss for much of my life. I did lose my great grandfather and great grandmother, both very kind loving people when I was younger. I missed them, but also understood they were both older, had lived full lives. And of course, I would see them in heaven when I died. (my beliefs at the time.)
My Grandmom passing away in 2014 was my first rougher loss. She was at most times a little difficult to love, but in her way I knew that she did love me. She fell, and her health rapidly took a turn for the worse. I called her at the hospital and had a slightly similar conundrum that you mention, @maiki. We ended up just talking about some times we had spent together. There had been a couple random times in the past that I took her out to lunch, and I didn’t realize until that call, how important that was to her. If I had understood that more at the time I would have made more of an effort.
Jason’s passing was the first loss I experienced that absolutely gutted me. I counted him a good friend, though after he moved away we didn’t talk very much. The month previous, I had picked up a book on the stoic philosophy, and was reading it through, writing questions I wanted to talk to Jason about. I had this plan of setting up a call where we could catch up and talk philosophy like we used to, on our walks to Monterey Market. I also had what I can only describe as a premonition on the night before his passing, though I was unaware of the significance of it. (I have since always acted on those feelings, the sudden, out of the blue, strong desire to check on a friend.)
Last year I lost my father-in-law, my last grandmother and last grandfather all in the space of 1.5 months. It was really hard. I was with my grandmother moments before she passed. I was able to talk to her for hours about all the positive times and impact she had on me. We listened to Christmas music, and let me tell you, “Silent Night” has such an entirely different meaning to me now. What an incredible song.
With the losses I’ve experienced, and some of my experiences around death have shaped my beliefs. Around all the deaths that have affected me, there have been dreams and thoughts I can’t explain. Dreams I’ve had, premonitions, etc.
These are my beliefs around afterlife:
- There is definitely something after death
- I think the soul, the spirit lives on. Maybe some sort of Universe level Gaia?
- The person isn’t absorbed into something fully, losing themselves. Identity is still there.
- Our conscious mind can’t tap into that, but unconsciously or in dream state the veil is thinner.
In terms of how our family mourns… There is definitely crying, sadness that we won’t see that person again in our lives. Thinking about it, it’s the only time I cry now. We try to remember what they would want; they wouldn’t want us to be crippled with sadness but live our lives. We remember them with stories we share, seeing things we think they would have liked, etc. We know that we don’t know what happens after death, but it feels like we may see our loved ones after death.
@susan I would love to talk with you about Jason if you ever want to.