Is there anything more peaceful than the sea at dawn? Before the light, before the first noises (except for the sound of a fisherman’s battello going out to sea), before anybody else has gotten up and is walking around (except for a lady walking her dog quite briskly). Before the trucks coming round to clean.
I remember homelessly sleeping by the seaside, and realising that nope, the seaside wakes you up cold, shivery, sandy and groggy. The city is surprisingly better for it.
But the seagulls rendez-vousying on the beach, seeing the colours before the sun is even up, that is what the sea at dawn can be.
I woke up from the second slightly scary dream. The first one involved a friend who was hunted down by some sort of spirit possessing various people who could get close, and us trying to get away from it.
The second involved a house, a very large butterfly, and my dog, whom I’d forgotten was sleeping between my room and my half open balcony door (yes I had a very very cool villa and a balcony with fluttering light white curtains in my room in this dream). I woke up to see him stretch, but he never looked at me. I was filled with love for him and wanted to go out for a walk. He wasn’t as bouncy as usual about it and kept looking out, but as I went to get his lead a very big and beautiful yet persistent white butterfly kept nipping me on the back of the neck till I woke up (no balconies or bouncy white evanescent curtains this time, though).
I woke up at 5:30 and realised I wasn’t going back to sleep. I had gone to sleep at 1:45 am, after cradling my five-year-old who had been thinking about death all day and ended the day, understandably crying desperately because she would miss me when I died, she would miss her dog, she would miss her toy tiger.
I could never lie to my children. In the past, when I would speak about death with the boys when they were little, I always used to wonder whether an outright lie (“No, sweetie, I will never die”) wouldn’t have been better.
The pain such a small child has to go through as he or she assimilates this concept is just too much to bear. But then I think about how I feel when I hear parents tell that lie to their kids, and I think about the fact that death does indeed happen, even to small children, and how shocked and devastated and angry they are: they didn’t even know one could die!
If you’re lucky, a pet will die before a parent or a sibling or a beloved relative or friend. Then you have a while to have them recover from the complete shock and hope they will comprehend enough to be ready for the “big one”. But what if you’re not.
My little daughter, however, was even more heartbreaking than the boys. She would think about it, desperation in her eyes, but you could see her not wanting you to deny it, not wanting you to lie to her (she always catches people trying to fool her), so picturing it, imagining it, in detail. She asks for details, what happens to our body. What happens to our SOUL. So yes, I’d like to see one of you people who do not believe we have a soul dealing with your child asking you about death, and telling them the body dies and there is no soul. I hope for your sake but most importantly for your child’s sake that you never, ever have to do that.
My “luck”, in the midst of all last night’s crying and weeping and imagining and hugging, is that I believe in my soul and everyone else’s. One could almost say I KNOW about it. It has NOTHING to do with religion: I understand that the various religions of the world are just ways to try and narrow down and comprehend many aspects of life, and one primary aspect of this life is death, and this feeling of a soul, that mankind has needed to somehow narrow down, comprehend, grasp, come to terms with. Because mankind is a child that needs to know it cannot just end, and, more importantly and normally missed out by anybody who doesn’t believe that life continues, most of mankind feels with absolute certainty that life does continue, and there is indeed a soul that we can feel just as tangibly as a tummy ache.
I understand the need for a religious certainty, for dogma, and do not have it, nor wish for it. And I’m fine that way. I have my own “religion”, which by definition isn’t one as it is my own personal feelings about the way things are and I honestly, deeply, completely do not care about anyone telling me “where is your proof of that”. Honestly, I really don’t care. That’s your insecurity speaking, not mine. That will be your problem when you have to explain the sudden absence of being to your weeping child, not mine.
I couldn’t bring myself to lie. I just “promise to be around for as long as I possibly can, so that you’ll be fed up with me by that time!” and “I will happily go and see my own mummy, and then wait for you! While you finish your life with this body and then come and join me and our friends and all our relatives that have gone before us, and then you decide when to come back again, in a brand new body!” “Please, please don’t think about this now. Don’t cry before anything has happened.” “But when people go away and die it is ok to cry!” “Of course it is, but I’m here now! All the people you love and all your pets are here now! So don’t cry now, everything is fine!” “But I will miss tiger!!” And so on. In the end, at 1:30 am, the only thing that worked was a story, and a cuddle, and goodnight, and I slept near her.
And now for a brand new day, with breakfast at Bon-Bon with my friend. Yum!