I live in a christian country surrounded, in the majority, by friends who have great faith, a faith which has carried them through on the darkest of days. I live with a man who enjoys his catholic religion, and who cannot imagine a life without it, who possibly believes that deep down I actually believe in God, and that some day in the future my faith will return. My children are mixed on this front with varying degrees of faith. I have never denied them the religion they were baptised into, but I do not actively live it, so they wonder and on occasions they ask me, what do I believe.
I believe in a life lived now, not tomorrow, next week or in a next life. I live the best day I can today, and enjoy every day, for who knows what tomorrow may bring. I do not believe in sin or any God. I believe in now.
But… what happens when a loved one dies?
A close friend recently said she had to believe in an after life, as the thought that she would never see her loved one again was just too awful to imagine. I saw her pain and I hoped in my heart she was right. I wanted her to meet him again, or at least to live this life believing and hoping she would.
I have sometimes questioned my own belief, wondering as I speak to my dad, who died nearly thirty years ago, why am I speaking to him when I don’t believe in an after life. Why do I call on him for help, advice or comfort when I believe he has died?
Yesterday I think I got my answer.
I was golfing (yes I love to golf). It was the most beautiful day, with a clear blue sky, and the views were stunning. It was one of those afternoons I felt lucky to be alive. As I enjoyed my round, with my OH and friends, I had by my side my usual golfing companion, someone no one else sees or speaks to. No one hears him laughing at my mistakes, nor do they know I sometimes ask him for advice, (against all the rules).
Who is this secret companion of mine? It is young Daniel.
Danny, for those who are new to this blog, was my friends young boy, who lost a hard fought battle with Leukemia almost nineteen months ago. Christmas came just a month after he died, and his mother gave me a ‘gift’ from Daniel. It was a voucher for a sports shop. After much consideration I bought a golf club. An expensive one, now known as ‘Danny’s club’. Each time I use it, I feel as if Daniel is by my side, enjoying the day out and the competition.
Yesterday was no different, as he and I strolled the course. When Danny’s club hit the ball well, I’d smile and congratulate him, when it didn’t I’d imagine his laughter at my mistake. It was lovely to walk for hours imagining him happy and free. At times I wondered at our conversation. Was I speaking to myself, or did I really feel him close?
Today I have continued to ponder.
I do believe Daniel is gone, but I also believe we carry our loved ones with us always. My dad is still very much a part of me, holding a space in my heart no one else will ever fill. He is by my side all day every day, and the love I felt for him, and he for me, surrounds me even after all these years. The same is true for Daniel. No I was not his mother, or aunt, nor were we best friends, but we shared a part of life together and he took a place in my heart, a place he will always be.
I do not feel I must die in order to meet them again. Those I have loved and lost continue to be a part of my life, every minute of every day. I will always miss seeing them, but for as long as I live, they continue to live.
I appreciate this is not for everyone. I do not care what anyone else believes, for it is up to each individual to find their own way. I am not against religion and if you offered during times of trouble to ‘pray for me’ I’d be touched and grateful, just do not try to convert me, for I am more than happy with this simple life of mine.
To each their own.
As I write this today I think of Aoibheann (8), Daniel (13) and young Ben (6) as well as my own dad, who continue to live in the hearts and minds of those who loved them.