Thursday, 11 June 2015


They say when you die your mind conjures up what you imagine. Shows you your idea of God, faith or Heaven; suspends you above the pits of Hell. You create what you want to see whatever that might be at the time of your death.
It might not even be the real deal, it might be just an experience of death: a taster, a close call, a near miss like two air planes without radar or traffic control avoiding collision. An appetiser to take away or whet your fear.
I'd like to think I'd find myself somewhere in nature or standing before Romanesque architecture, or at least feeling a degree of deja vu. A park bench with a far-reaching view; in awe of a magnificent structure; or ruminating: Have I seen this before? Perhaps it will be none of these, but a dizzying reminder of the life I've departed; a giddying reel of imagery with accompanying dialogue. Unforgettable and regrettable moments and edited conversations. I imagine I'll still cringe at the sight of myself or the sound of my own voice. Self-detachment won't occur until after the baggage you've arrived with has been gone through, once the machine that processes you no longer issues high-pitched bleeps.
But of course these thoughts are all speculative. That plane we supposedly go to may be none of these things. And when it happens, at whatever age, I'm convinced my ticket will be one way, and so I meditate upon it now.
It won't be a near-death, it will be game over for that particular vehicle. The time come to absorb those lessons and plan the next one, if I so choose. I may not. Life is learning on-the-job, death is coming home. A resting place for weary travellers. That's how I think of it anyway and I realise that it may not appeal to you. My speaking of it may seem morbid, weird or taboo, but I'm comfortable with it. More comfortable than I am trying to belong, to fit into life. To be a small cog in a big wheel.
To believe we just end doesn't make sense to me nor do I believe in repercussions. Education, but not hard punishments dealt out by a presiding god or an angelic council. I believe we are called to judge our own acts, our thoughts, our intents – be they wrong or right, or what we think those camps epitomise, and then decide what we still have to work on. We're our harshest critics and we devise our own absolution. There are no weighing scales, hieroglyphics or Egyptians.
But then this isn't originally what I intended to write. I was going to write a parody: mock the idea of God as a powerful figure. Place a stone tablet outside his gate which would claim he'd gone travelling, and then a person, undefined, would arrive well before his appointed time and break in. A burning curiosity to know what God's home looked like getting the better of him, which I had pictured as a Turneresque ruined abbey: the roof, the open sky; the ground littered with unfurled parchments. God, of course, would discover the intruder and provide some humorous advice on living life and not cheating death.
However, when I sat down to write the fable I've outlined, it refused to materialise as a squirrelled away part of me had other things to say on the matter and these words had to be released. Like Picasso's famous painting of a dove with an olive branch in its beak, to do so would bring me peace.
Has peace come about? In a way, yes. I feel as though I've attempted to circle the globe and extended the clasped olive branch; said it's okay to ponder or share what the death state might be like: see an afterlife of some description, believe in retribution or atonement, picture a class room or another life. On being questioned or examined closer, none of us completely identify with or reflect the same beliefs, even within a rigid dogma. There are always differences, and no matter how slight, it's important to embrace and not suppress these. It's okay to believe you're a creator.

Picture Credit: Dove of Peace, Picasso 1961