Recently, I received a condolence card that asked me where I find comfort in this time of my mother’s death. It’s a question that set me thinking.

The person who sent the card said her faith in God gave her comfort, and I know most of my family members feel the same. They believe (strongly) that they will see and know Mom again, when they die. They insinuated that the eulogy I read for my mom at her service indicates I believe in an afterlife (see my previous blog). I have sometimes wished I had that sort of faith.

Nothing has changed about what I believe. Science tells me that DNA connects everyone – from the first primordial creature to whatever humans are when we eventually become extinct. I don’t know if science supports this, but I believe my DNA and my mom’s DNA are imprinted on and intertwined with the other’s in a stronger way than those ancestors and descendants. This non-conscious eternity is the only one I accept. 

A conscious eternity – the idea of being aware of my ‘self’ in 100, 10,000, 1,000,000,000 years – is impossible to me. As I am now, I have a concept of time, and in order to be conscious in ‘eternality,’ I would have to be so significantly changed psychologically that I wouldn’t still be ME. 

And that’s just one of the ways I would not be ME. Some people believe we are only happy in the afterlife (or miserable if you go the other place). Some believe we will see all our loved ones – even those in the other place. That requires a consciousness that is altered to fit the environment. And that is not ME.

My mom was a skeptic. Before she died, the priest came for last rites or whatever it’s called. He asked Mom if she believed in God, and she said, “most of the time.” Then he asked about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and she replied, “same answer.” She wasn’t especially talkative about it, but she did say that whatever happened – heaven or nothing (she didn’t believe in the other place) – she was at peace with it.

That is a comfort to me.

Her dying too soon and being gone for the rest of my life – there’s no real comfort. There’s just recognizing it and accepting it, and letting time ease it ever so gradually.

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