The days rushed by without coming to a conclusion whether I should take the trip to the continent for my Godmother’s funeral. And when the day came I was still struggling between the stress of travelling on short notice and the worry I would feel that I had missed out on the last opportunity to spend time in my Godmother’s surroundings.
So this morning I went up onto the rolling green hills of the Sussex South Downs and flew a small kite as my very own little memorial service to an inspirational individual who has had a big impact on my spiritual growth. To the kite I had attached Tibetan prayer flags and a little bundle of flower petals. The weather couldn’t have been better, blue sky and a warm spring sun. A soft wind blew my prayers and flower petals towards the East, towards the continent where the funeral was being held.
I had also draped my little stone Buddha in flowers and petals and attached the prayer flags to the bushes around it. I felt thoroughly happy with it. It looked joyful. The celebration of a new beginning, not the mourning of an ending. That works for me. Though, once again, I wonder, how much it matters what the person that has passed on thinks of it. How much is their own belief paramount to my belief when it comes to dealing with the passing of a soul?
This does kind of prove my thesis that it is much more about those who stay on. And I see in my own behaviour how important it is to come to a closure, however trivial it might seem. The feeling to do something extraordinary and beautiful for the passing soul is quite common. And little rituals like this can make the transition a little easier. I took the day off work as well. It just didn’t feel right to simply carry on with the ordinary when something out of the ordinary had happened. I felt that I needed that day to fully come to terms with it. My closure.
My little kite excursion felt like something my Godmother would have been up for. And I’m more than convinced that she thoroughly enjoyed it too. I don’t class myself as religious. I simply picked up a few ideas here and there and feel comfortable with some Buddhist practices. “You don’t need to be a Buddhist to practice Buddhism” I was once told by a Buddhist monk.
Acceptance, as part of the five stages of grief, is coming to terms with the passing and to move on. Does taking part in a belief system make it easier to accept death? Or even, does it help to carry on living our life and to fill the hole a passing soul has left? And getting back to my thoughts on denial: do we need faith and religions to come over the denial phase, the inability to accept that someone is simply just not here anymore? Would we break if we didn’t have anything else to look at than an empty hole? Is that why I decided to feel their presence after their passing, or do I just happen to sense them anyway?
I don’t think I will be able to answer that question any time soon. I need to experience more, learn to listen more deeply to other dimensions of existence.
P.S. It would greatly interest me to hear form any atheists out there who have undergone bereavement and to learn what their thoughts and emotions were.