Friday, April 28, 2006

How far is Heaven?

Note: I just noticed that I spelled Santa Claus wrong. Ha ha (in Nelson's voice).

Los Lonely Boys were on the radio this morning, so those lyrics are bouncing around in my head. Which brings me round to my stance on Heaven...

One of the "comforting" things that we all get all the time is this "your baby is in Heaven" and "now you have an Angel watching over you." I am not going to address the absurdity of those comments - you all get that. The prevalence of such comments, however, did force me to deal with the whole concept of Heaven in those worst days immediately following the death of our son.

I am an adult. I don't believe in Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny anymore. So the concept of a Heaven as some sort of Garden of Eden in the clouds just doesn't connect with me. I have also struggled with the idea, since I choose to believe that something of a person is infinite, of how those people who have gone before me would exist and how I would "see them in Heaven" (as so often promised by well meaning souls). Every time someone would give me that piece of helpful commentary, my mind would go into a tailspin. How old would he be? What will he look like? Are we people at all when we die? Does our spirit convert to some sort of energy form that interacts with other energy forms? What's the deal with eternity? Do we move on to another plane of existence?

The whole thing, for me, is like the tailspin that happens in my brain when I ask myself the question "how big is the universe?" If there is no end to the universe, then how do you define the boundaries of the universe? Is there more than one universe? Warning, warning, system overload, abort, ABORT!!!

So I don't really think about Heaven anymore. The tailspin of thought is unpleasant, so I just figure I will know what I need to know, when I need to know it.

Of course, the world sometimes circumvents the best-laid-plans. Like, the other evening, when an old Standard of the American songbook came on the radio, and this image of me dancing, with a person I knew to be my son, popped into my head. He was a young man, in his early 20s, wearing a nice suit, and I put my head on his shoulder. I wasn't sleeping, I was washing my face to get ready for bed. But the image was as vivid as any dream I have ever had. Is that Heaven? Will I, some day after I die, and if I have achieved the entrance requirements, dance with my son? Will I change his diaper, or kiss his boo-boo all better, or see him married, or meet my grandchildren? Is that how the universe works? Is it like The Five People You Meet in Heaven? Didn't I promise myself I wouldn't ask these questions anymore?

sigh...But in a good way. I think I will just take that image, and turn it over and around in my mind and in my heart, and cherish it the way I cherish the real memories that I have of my son. Even though it wasn't real, I will regard it as if it were. I guess that is all we can do when we don't have the real memories. Accept the dream memories as a nice little kiss from beyond, as a trinket to pull out of the back of your heart when you need to connect with your baby.

I mentioned that I had a run-in with a middle manager, who asked me "how's the family - you had a little one, right?" , and who should have known better. I guess that just reminded me that, since it was important enough for him to remember that I was pregnant, and not important enough for him to remember that our baby died, that the human mind remembers things in a weird way. Seriously, how can you not remember something like that? And how did he miss the 2 weeks of BabyLoss awareness activities that I did at my work in October? Retirement dulls the senses, I guess.

However, I was proud of myself for not trying to make him feel better about asking. Firstly, he should have known. Secondly, it should not be my responsiblity to deal with his faux-pas of asking in the first place. And I didn't feel it necessary to explain or anything. I just changed the subject and walked away. I was annoyed by his idiocy, but pleased with my reaction. I didn't let it hurt me.

I have been contemplating writing some songs with some of my loss issues at their core. However, I cannot stand the trite poetry that is written regarding this subject. Give me Shakespeare or Wordsworth or even Sarah McLachlan or Steven Page. Though the sentiment is sweet, in the songs that have been written, it is too gooey for me. I want real, but not ugly. I want contemplative or angry, not sappy and sad. Something with substance.

So I guess that leaves it to me to either write some decent music and lyrics all on my own (daunting, very very daunting), or search for some decent poetry that I could set to music (only slightly less daunting). Maybe this isn't a project for me, but it feels like it should be. So I intend to follow my gut.

Please, if you have something that isn't all rhyming, gushy, gooey, sappy, blech, Please either email it to me or post a comment.

Sample of what I like:

They are not gone from us. O no! they are
The inmost essence of each thing that is
Perfect for us, they flame in every star;
The trees are emerald from us, they do not roam
The flaw and turmoil of the lower deep,
But now have made the whole wide world their home,
And in its loveliness themselves they steep.

They fail not ever, theirs is the diurn
Splendor of sunny hill and forest grave;
In every rainbow's glittering drop they burn;
They dazzle in the massed clouds' architrave;
They chant on every wind, and they return
In the long roll of any deep blue wave.
- Robert Nichols

And also, this one:
I did not die young
I lived my span of life,
Within your body
And within your love.

There are many
Who have lived long lives
And have not been loved as me.

If you would honor me
Then speak my name
And number me among your family.

If you would honor me,
Then strive to live in love
For in that love, I live.

Never ever doubt
That we will meet again.

Until that happy day,
I will grow with God
And wait for you.
- Christy Kenneally

Neither one seems particularly musical, but I may pursue the idea more before I exhaust them as possibilities.

So there is your homework.

1 comment:

R said...

I really like how you write. Isn't it so hard NOT to ask the hard questions?