Coming up on 2 years without my Daddy, which is 1 year with a fully functioning Mia, and roughly 11 months of a somewhat “normal” life.
And I don’t know how to feel about any of that….
My therapist suggested I write about my confusion after our scattered, rambling, muddled session today. So here I am… writing about my existential bullshit.
I guess I should start at the beginning.
Back when my Dad first died I felt him with me a LOT. I remember my first night home after his death, I was sitting on the couch and it hit me that he was gone and I broke down into a screaming, sobbing, disaster of a mess. Vince was holding me and rocking me – I was literally screaming – and I had this sudden and incredibly overwhelming feeling that my Dad was *really* upset that I was in so much distress. Like, I had to calm down immediately because my distress was causing him distress.
In the beginning it seemed like he was always just a thought or two away. I mean that literally – I felt as though I could connect to him, wherever he was, if I just tuned the world out and thought about him/felt for him with my heart.
I remember straightening my hair with Mia’s Chi at their house, trying to pull myself together and go to the hospital to see how she was doing. As I stood there wondering if she was going to die I felt my Dad joke “this woman can’t even give me two weeks of peace in the after life?”
Don’t get me wrong, my Dad and I have an extremely similar sense of humor, but I don’t think that joke was 100% mine.
Now the connection isn’t nearly as frequent or as strong. Every once in awhile I can “tap” into him but it’s nothing like it was in the first few months after I lost him.
Which brings me to last week(?)
I read What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. It’s also a movie with Robin Williams and a damn good one, but the book is next-level-shit. I purposefully avoided reading it because I thought my heart wasn’t ready – I was wrong. I should have read that book immediately after losing Daddy.
With What Dreams May Come Richard Matheson did a LOT of research into the process of dying, the afterlife, what happens to us after we die, where we go, and who we go with. His research spanned multiple religions and theologies.
The plot is fairly simple at its core. The protagonist, Chris, dies and both he and his family are forced to cope with his sudden death.
Now, Chris’s description of death… how his consciousness disconnects from his body… how he watches his family grieve their loss… how he tries so hard to connect with them that, on some level, he actually does… how he moves on to let them live their lives… It felt like I was reading about my Dad’s death from his point of view.
Reading that book moved me. It validated me – and those early post-Daddy-days – in a lot of ways. And it threw me into a bit of a tailspin.
Which brings me to right-the-fuck-now.
I’m kind of having an existential crisis of sorts.
The word ‘crisis’ implies ‘panic,’ and that’s not what’s going on. I’m actually quite calm about it all. I really like how humanity has defined this crisis via Wikipedia:
An existential crisis is often provoked by a significant event in the person’s life — psychological trauma, marriage, separation, major loss, the death of a loved one…. Usually, it provokes the sufferer’s introspection about personal mortality, thus revealing the psychological repression of said awareness.
Existentialism posits that a person can and does define the meaning and purpose of his or her life, and therefore must choose to resolve the crisis of existence.
I spent the first 10 months of therapy just getting through the crisis that was my Dad’s death and Mia’s recovery. Now that that’s all buttoned up, it kind of hit me that I’m going to die too… in fact, it could literally happen at any time… so… to say I have some questions that are currently unanswered would be an understatement.
Note: If I actually believed in a formal religion, I would probably NOT have these questions. But… I don’t. I wish I did. I want to. But I don’t. At least not yet.
So, without further ado:
- How is our consciousness, our sense of ‘self’ or our ‘soul,’ separate from this flesh and blood shell that we occupy?
- What happens to our consciousness/self/soul after we die? Where do we “go?”
- We spend all this time while we’re alive growing and nurturing deep, meaningful relationships with other souls. Those connections endure and persist after death, right? I instinctively believe that they do… I want to believe I will meet my Dad again and instantly know who he is… my heart refuses to accept that I won’t see him again. I just know that I will.
- Does that means I believe in reincarnation? I don’t know… I struggle with this one…
- Would any of this be any easier if I truly believed in a formal religion? Would it make more sense?
- I feel like I’ve been set on some sort of complex spiritual obstacle course that’s caused me to wonder and worry about some fairly deep philosophies. What happens to people who don’t get put on such a course? What happens to people who never wonder?
- Is it even possible that feeling and thinking and wondering so deeply is rare? Surely everyone wonders these things, right?
- How do I wonder without worrying…? How do I learn to have faith and/or accept that what will be, will be? (Will it?)
- What possible reason is there to exist besides loving others and being loved in return? (No, I did not watch Moulin Rouge while drafting this. Serious question.)
So, if anyone has answers to the questions above – or maybe you feel your religion totally nails them – let me know. I am spiritual blank slate, dedicated to making the most of my existence, and my soul needs some direction.
WAIT. I think I did answer something for myself with all of this. I am now 99.9% sure I am not an atheist.
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