Sunday, June 13, 2010
What is life?
On our second date, we had sex. It was my first time, and we were in my parents' little Austin Healey Sprite. If you know what the car looks like, you know how challenging it must have been to actually do the deed in that little car. Derald didn't own a car, so I borrowed my parents' car, and we drove to an abandoned gravel pit. Romantic, I know. The moon was full, and I remember very well seeing the mound of white gravel reflecting in the moonlight. It was over before I thought it had begun, since Derald was really only interested in one thing, and I was confused and totally inexperienced.
After driving him back to the base, I remember clearly going home and taking a bath. A hot one. I had a bad feeling about the possibility of becoming pregnant, since we didn't use anything; heck, I didn't even know what that meant in February 1961. I know you can probably guess what happened: my son Chris was conceived that night.
I know it was that night, because it was the only time I allowed that to happen, and it was too late. I knew within a few weeks that something amazing was happening in my body. We were married on March 1, 1961, and Chris was born in November. I wrote a post about that time here.
But this post is really about life. What is it exactly? Derald died in the 1980s, many years ago, and Chris died in 2002. Our other son Stephen is also dead. They are all gone, and I am here, in 2010, writing about these things, these people. I am beginning to look ahead to the inevitable loss of more family, friends, and the end of my own life on earth. It must be something we all begin to ponder eventually, unless we turn away from it and pretend that death is not a fact of life. A precondition of life, if you will. I remember hearing a phrase once that life is a terminal illness, because it always ends in death.
The other day I read a very interesting article about the nature of life, which I will expand upon in my other blog, probably today. I reserve this blog for personal reflections and don't try to keep it short, and don't necessarily follow editorial conventions to grab the reader, tell a story, don't get too verbose. This one is for me, and for any readers to give feedback if they are so moved. I am covetous of the followers on my other blog, sifting the number through my mental hands as if they are jewels that tell me I am worthwhile. Here, when I see another follower has joined, I am a little amazed and try very hard to keep in mind that I am writing for ME, for understanding my own journey, not to amass an audience. I do enjoy the comments, because I learn something about myself, and something about the commonality of our journey through life.
I have always wondered how other people deal with grief. It seems I've had so much of it in my life, but I don't feel it now, or even most of the time. I am naturally optimistic and don't dwell on my losses. At my age, most of my friends have lost their parents, although now and then I'll overhear somebody my age at the gym talking about visiting a parent in a nursing home, and I notice that it seems like a foreign language, since no member of my family has ever lived long enough to end up in one. Years ago I volunteered in one for a short period and found it to be a horrible, horrible place: the vacant stares, the smell, the hopelessness.
But you know, all of those people were at one time vibrant, healthy, productive people. What happened to them? What is real? If we were to actually survive death, in another life, what person emerges into the spiritual realm? If the beautiful infant that was my son Stephen was transported into heaven, did he continue to grow into a man? Surely other people must wonder about these things. Do you? What is life to you?
The article I stumbled upon deals with biocentrism, which says that life creates the universe rather than the other way around. That when we die, space and time reboot, so to speak. It posits that time does not have a real existence outside of our own experience of it, and that space, like time, is not an object or a thing and doesn't exist outside of our own reality. Does that boggle your mind like it does mine?
What it really does, though, that makes me interested in it, is the feeling of peacefulness that comes over me when I think that maybe time and space are rebooted upon our death, and that event has already happened to so many of my loved ones. They aren't dead at all, and when one of them visits me in my dreams, they are just reminding me that we exist outside the space-time continuum.