The spark of divinity within

There are common facets to the ‘Near Death Experience’ phenomenon. Even though the near death-ee almost always has a unique story to tell, very many of them have a few basic common threads – an out of body experience, an experience of light and/or warmth and/or feelings of love.

There are some people who experience something altogether more frightening, but on the whole these are common threads irrespective of age, gender, race or creed.

I am always interested to read or listen to these accounts, and I listen carefully for any nuance, the slightest hint that the person is fabricating the story. Very many times, particularly YouTube accounts, I find myself thinking quite cynically – nah, this is made up! But there are some that resonate with reality – and I read or listen with rapt attention. I was shocked to hear from an academic study of NDE’s that those experienced by children have a far more deep reaction within the individual, and as a group, there is an alarmingly high percentage of them that go on to commit suicide and that fact is linked back that NDE experience and the fact they were never able to get over it.

I find the idea that at the end, when we shuffle off the mortal coil, there is light and love and peace awaiting us, to be something very very appealing. I listened recently to a series of conversations with hospice workers, who talk about the knowing when a person’s time is coming to a close – not a set in stone ritual, but a familiar sense of the end nearing due to things the dying do or say as they approach their end time.

Clearly death is highly personal, and the passage to death can’t possibly be predicted or even pleasant for some sadly, but for those of us who tread the well worn path, there appears to be something in it that those who work closely and regularly with the dying, recognise.

‘ And God said, Let there by light.’

And here is something I have been considering a lot of late – considering light, and love and the divine spirit within a person – because I think there is something elemental in this and there is nothing more elemental than our relationship with  our own death. And I want to explore some ideas over the next few posts – these are theoretical and raw because I am a w-i-p over this at the moment.

 

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Accepting Death

My Mother phoned me last night.

My Father is ill. He’s 78, just this week. And he isn’t hale and hearty, far from it.

My Father led a raucous youth -and looking back as a little girl, I can only remember him with cigarette in hand or a pint of something. That was the 60s for you.

By the time he reached early 50s – he was having a triple heart by-pass.

Over the years there have been a few set backs, medical interventions, but he has lead a good retirement – played golf & bowls and learned Tai Chi. Spent time with Mum in the their garden and generally enjoyed a relaxed and happy retirement.

Lately, he hasn’t been well.

Initially given 15 years with the by pass – he has done very well – he is 20 years post op.

But his heart is failing him. He knows it, we know it and more importantly his medical team know it.

He has been passed around from one set of docs to another over the last 6 months and in that time, there has been noise, talk, tests but nothing has been done  – and he has steadily deteriorated. They are now all but admitting out right there is very little to be done for him

I’m not even convinced he has the physical strength to undergo any difficult surgery even if they felt something could be done – and they aren’t!

I have thought a lot about how I personally might face my own death, but in my thinking, it is always a long way off in the future, something I can ponder academically. But for my Father, the reality of his death is by his side – he is beset with issues every day, dizziness, pain, indigestion, palpitations – the effects of a defective heart are making themselves so known to him – he can’t escape the ‘in your faceness’ of what everyone now feels is his imminent demise.

And I can feel the panic – not just in him but my mother too. She isn’t a flakey sort of woman, but even she is feeling the strain of the constant worry – would it be today? tonight?

Just last night, trying to arrange a not so future family event, I could feel her real prevarication  – what if? hung in the air.

Speaking the truth – being up front and not speaking in euphemism – always my preferred way to deal with matters, suddenly feels way way too blunt, too harsh, too uncaring. They are already panicked witless.

But where is the peace and acceptance  – the going lightly to your good night? There is none of that. And I find myself googling the ways in which people might expire from heart failure, so better able to help my Mum in the event. And some of the stores are frightening.

I think I imagined peaceful sleep and then gone.

But instead, I am confronting a frantic and painful struggle to the end.

And at 78 I would like for them something altogether more calm.

I wish they were more spiritual people, that they might glean real comfort from a belief in something, but in being salt of the earth types – their understanding of life and death is altogether more salty – and frightening. And for once, I can find nothing comforting or useful to say to either of them.