My grandmother, Josie Enderle, died in April this year. Immediately following her death, I had a few random moments of naive agnosticism where I hoped that my Gramma would haunt me.
Years ago when she was still alive, I actually asked her to haunt me when she passed; I was very rude and un-tactful. I had told her I was an atheist because it came up somehow, and when she wanted to press the matter, instead of debating, -I was not in the mood that day- I told her to haunt me when she died to prove there was an afterlife. She gave me a stunned look and I regretted it immediately, but then she grinned and agreed. She had told me the story of when she was baptized many times and it popped into my head recently. She was sitting in the pews at church, very shy, and the pasture had asked who would like to be baptized that day -I guess this happened every so often- and she wanted badly to go up but was too shy to stand▬until she felt a hand on her shoulder. No one was sitting behind her. She said the hand gave her strength and courage and she jolted upright and went up and was baptized that day. She has always believed in the Holy Spirit, and therefor in ghosts. I guess, my challenge seemed like an agreeable one. She never again brought up my being an atheist.
As much as I wanted to believe that she is still here, somehow,… since I haven’t heard from her I assume I was correct in thinking that Christian mythology is just that-a myth. It’s what happens to people when they are so scared of death that a lovely societal premonition is created to ease their emotions… Even though I do firmly believe it, it doesn’t make me feel any better knowing she is gone for-ev-er… I know most people believe she is in a better place… Or that I’ll see her again… But the truth of scientific reality is that she is dust, literally… She was cremated… Her body is gone, her brain that knew me is gone, her soul is but a myth. Souls don’t exist. All that remains of her is a few locks of hair taken by myself & other immediate family.
What a confirmation of non-belief for a non-believer. How many other people can say that they made a deal like mine? I knew a person who really wanted me to believe… And I gave this person an opportunity to prove it beyond doubt, that when they passed, they would honor our agreement, and prove to me that life existed past death. That’s what loss does, though, it gives false hope. It’s what I’ve always believed, now confirmed:
We are all rotting temporary biological life forms. We are here while our bodies thrive and then we are gone. Our brains hold the formula to our personalities. Once or brains cease to function, our “soul” is gone. We don’t exist past our deaths. No suffering can exist past death. It’s like an eternal sleep without dreams… Without thought… Without worry. It more peaceful to be gone, than to move on to another plane of existence, in my opinion.
I watched my brother Gabriel get baptized last month. It was odd, almost cultish to me, and kind of creepy, and even sad in a way… I’m glad that I am free of religious ties. I am glad that this life is meant more to me because of the limits it holds. I will live as long as possible but when it’s done, that is the last chapter of the story. Blackout, curtails drawn. The end.