Death, Dying and the Whole Afterwards

I think my only excuse is that I’ve been having an odd couple of weeks with odd things going on. Here is my comment to Ken’s post Remembering Liam.

Liam sounds like someone worth remembering and great to have known.

We had a family funeral this week and my Mother seems never to be far from the topic of death, dying and afterwards. This month I decided I do not believe in god. So that’s given her something new to talk about. But she’s not a firm church-goer. Just from the generation where that’s what you do and how you think. Last night Stephen Hawkings was on TV, a new show on Discover called Curiousity. It was about god and did god create the universe. Hawking, as you might guess, says no about the god issue.

It’s interesting how things all come together at the same time, isn’t it? I haven’t though about god, death, dying, and afterwards for a long time other than an interest in old and neglected graveyards/ cemeteries. But here and now it seems the issue is all over my world. Even in your Irish rover of a blog.

Your tribute to Liam was lovely to read, especially the golf part where you painted him as human after all. When I die… I will leave no one behind (no children, just a brother and sisters and maybe my Mother if I beat her to it). At the funeral this past week I listened to my cousin’s daughter talk about her. It was lovely, sentimental and a good tribute to a Mother lost. My Mother likes what I wrote as a speech about my Father when he died a few years ago. I didn’t even like him as a person.

What will anyone say about me. No one here really knows me. They think they do. I think, in the end, I’d like nothing. I’d like to be in a building that blows up or lost in a shipwreck. No body. Then, maybe, I won’t give in to the temptation to see what thy say about me. Maybe if you’ve been blown up you can’t ghost around afterwards. That’s my little misguided theory. Anyway, once you decide you don’t believe in god, it’s interesting to see what you do have left to believe in about the whole afterwards.

I still believe in reincarnation but now you have to wonder who’s behind it all, who guides the process along and makes the decisions. This is a windy and twisted comment. Should keep you busy a minute and a half, if nothing else.


Ken posted about funerals. I decided to copy my comment here. I’m too tired to add more tonight.

I have all kinds of weird and wooly ideas about death and funerals. I do think the soul goes somewhere, is recycled eventually. The body is just meat once we die. This is one more reason I’m not a vegetarian. I like my meat.. well never mind.

My Dad died a few years ago, we burned him. He wasn’t well liked and once he was gone no one actually rushed to pick him up in his urn. I finally did. He’s still around somewhere. My brother scattered some ashes when he took a trip to Scotland a couple of years ago. The rest of Dad is at my brother’s house. I’m not sure where.

You may assume I have a casual attitude about death. I don’t think I do. I do see it as pretty final. You don’t get a reset button – which would be really useful when you think about it.

All of my Grandparents and their siblings are dead. I used to write letters (real snail mail letters) to them all. It was a lot of people to tell the same news to. But I’m adorable that way. Just ask them.. well, I guess you’ll just have to trust me.

I could not look at the corpse in the coffin at any of my Grandparents funerals. The idea just grossed me out. They weren’t there any more and the left overs were dead, I didn’t want to see them that way or touch them. I sat down while everyone else filed past. I read a book at my Grandfather’s funeral but that was because I didn’t want to cry. I focused and the book was just distracting enough.

I miss my Grandmother most of all. My Grandfather was the best man who ever lived but I miss her more. She was funny, annoying and I think we had a lot in common. But we came from different directions, very different lives. Life makes you different from who you might have been. But, I think of my Grandmother every August 31st (her birthday) and every St. Patrick’s Day.

Not Allowed to Attend

I hope she ignored the request not to attend the funeral. No one has the right to tell family they can’t be there to give their respects, say good-bye a last time and just know that they attended and were some part of the whole thing. What is wrong with people that they would dare to tell someone not to be there?!! I married an American guy and my wedding and reception were all about who was allowed to be there. I told them to bite me and I made sure all the groom’s family were there, whether they liked it or not. It was my bloody wedding and my own family couldn’t all attend just because I was married in the US and not Ontario (where I was from).

I posted this to 30 Something and Searching in response to her friend being told she was not to attend her sister’s funeral.

Give A Comment to One Young Woman in the World

Girl on Radio:

Have you ever got that feeling that there’s just no point in complaining anymore? I got that today and it just shows that I’m getting worse. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying until I get somewhere eventually. No one seems to understand me, no one seems to want to talk to me anymore. I feel like I have no life, nobody in the world to talk to, no one that feels this pain like I do.

We can’t solve the problems of the world, or even one young woman, but we can make someone (this young woman) feel she is not so alone in an uncaring world. Give a little comment. You don’t need to say much. It’s not like visiting someone in the hospital or attending a funeral. You don’t have to be especially clever, sympathetic or empathetic. Just give a comment to show her she is not alone in the world. All you really need to say is “I’m here” if you have nothing else to say.