Last week I talked about how working as a Funeral Director had changed my thoughts on death. To follow on from that this week I thought I would chat about how working in the Funeral Industry had changed my thoughts on the afterlife.
Growing up I went to Catholic School for Primary and High School. We went to church and mass and learnt all about God and Jesus. My Mother and her family aren’t religious however my Dad and his family are Greek Orthodox, as am I.
I was brought up around faith and God did play a part in my upbringing. I always had questions and doubts, was it all real? When we die do we go to Heaven if we were good or Hell if we were bad? I was never really too sure and I guess I’m still not.
While I had been to funerals before entering this industry and some were open caskets as per the Greek tradition, I’d only ever seen a dead person after the mortician had spent time getting them ready for the funeral. So that never changed my perspective or gave me any clarity.
I don’t think I will ever forget the first time after I started working for McCartney Family Funerals that I saw someone who had died, before they had been cared for by a mortician. It was my first time bringing someone into care and I guess I just expected them to look like the others I had seen at the funerals I had been to in the past. It wasn’t like that. It was completely raw and honest. No makeup, the eyes and mouth hadn’t been closed and they weren’t dressed in their finest. I thought how dead they looked, not like they were sleeping peacefully. While that may seem like the most obvious thing to think, it was in that moment that I actually got some clarity on I guess life and the afterlife.
I had never seen someone so honestly lifeless. Any spark that they once had was well and truly gone. It was that stark realisation that the soul had gone and who we are when we are living is definitely not there once our heart stops beating and our lungs stop breathing air.
I guess the next question I was then in search for was, well what happens next? I don’t know for any certainty about Heaven or Hell, God, Jesus, Buddha, Allah or any other spiritual belief and I’m not sure anyone can know with any certainty. What I have learnt is that when someone dies, sometimes the people that they loved who are still alive seem to, at times, sense their presence. Sometimes they get messages that the person that they are grieving is still around letting them know that they love them still. I know that can bring a sense of comfort. I also understand that some people would think that’s crazy and that’s ok too, but maybe one day it will happen to you.
Now I have a more spiritual appreciation, I believe after we die that for a while we still watch and care for those we love. I think sometimes if maybe the death was traumatic that the spirit may not be at rest and almost searching for answers, angry about how they died. However, I don’t think that’s the case for every traumatic death.
What happens after all of that I don’t know, maybe we get reincarnated or maybe we do end up in some endless ‘Heaven’ with all those who have gone before us? What I do believe is that there is wholeheartedly SOMETHING after we die. It gives me comfort knowing that the lights just don’t go out and that’s that. One day I’ll find out exactly what that something is, but hopefully not for a very long time!
I’d like to know what everyone else’s feelings are on death and the afterlife, and if you ever want to have a chat about it I’m up for it!
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