What happens to the human spirit when someone dies? Is there another dimension beyond our comprehension? If there is, where is it and how do you get there? I often wondered about life after death throughout my time on earth, but now it doesn’t seem to matter. I am unsure about my final destination as I appear to be floating in limbo.
I am thinking with great clarity and wondering if my thoughts can possibly be transmitted back to the world of the living, somehow. I want to let people know what I am experiencing.
The change in my affairs occurred a few days ago. Where I am going I know not, but time is a commodity I no longer worry about. Why should I? After all, I am dead!
I am unaware if I move on from here as I feel (no, most of my senses are no longer functional) there is a place beyond my limited horizon. I only know that I am alone with no purpose; no aims or ideas. Can I see? I am not sure, but I am aware of things.
This situation came about after I went to bed five days ago. As usual I left my wife, Jean, watching a late movie and knitting. I always go to bed first and Jean follows much later. Tonight was to prove a very different night than all the others in our forty years of marriage.
I believe I was half asleep when she came to bed. She undressed in the dark and entered the bathroom, took a shower, and walked into our bedroom, threw back the covers and got into bed. Her next move was habitual. She thrust her cold feet into the middle of my back.
“Oh, my God!” Jean screamed out loud! This was something different. She was agitated by something. I could tell by her sobbing that something was not right. I tried to turn over to comfort her and ask what was wrong. I couldn’t move! No muscle stirred and I wondered why. Then I seemed to sense my spirit was trapped inside a corpse. My earthly body was dead.
So this is what it is like to be dead. Strange, I had not realized I had passed away. There was no feeling of imminent death, no gasping for breath, no sense of being unwell; I had slipped away so easily. I lay absolutely still; aware of what was happening, yet unable to move a muscle.
Jean eventually composed herself and left to use the telephone. She called my doctor and her brother and returned to the bedroom to cover me with a sheet. Even though my eyes were covered, there was no diminishing of what senses I had remaining. She opened the bottom desk drawer and removed it. I had taped an envelope to the bottom of that drawer. It contained several thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills we had hidden there twenty years ago. My Jean always had a practical mind! Remove the cash prior to the will being read.
I sensed her pulling out the top drawer. Good grief; she knew about my hidden love letters firmly taped to the underside of the cabinet’s top! Jean removed the slender package and ran downstairs. I just knew those letters were about to be burnt in the embers of our living room fire. I thought I had fooled her about events that transpired more than twenty years ago.
I do not have any sense of time. Events go on and I need no sleep and I am completely unaware if it is night or day. I just seem to know what is going on even outside the room where my body rests.
I suppose several days have gone by because I now find my remains resting in a cheap casket. There are a lot of people sitting in the seats of a fairly large room, which I recognize as a place where I have said farewell to a lot of friends. We are in the chapel at the burial grounds and my open coffin rests in view of everybody. I am witnessing my own funeral service.
Jean and our three daughters and their families are in a separate enclosure concealed from the other mourners. Incense is burning, yet I detect no odor. Flowers are on tables on either side; no fragrance is discernable. Without the use of my organs I am now inanimate.
I do have a sense of freedom. That is one sense not denied me. I have no pain from my shattered hip. I broke it when I fell a year ago and the operation to replace it was unsuccessful. My asthmatic breathing no longer exists; but then neither do I for that matter.
The service drags on and I sense the rustling of thin booklets that people are reading to follow the service. Each has an old photo of me inside, taken many years ago when Jean and I were on holiday in Barbados. All the latest photographs are marred by the expression of pain I show.
The hymns they sing are my wife’s favorites, not mine. She has not honoured my wishes. I can do nothing about it, anyway.
The service ends, the passage of time is not relevant for me. I follow the movements as people move to the reception area. My spirit or ghost follows and it seems I look down on the gathering from above.
My friends have already gathered in groups in the reception rooms, remembering the past. I know most of the mourners will end up in a drunken stupor, because it is the way my peers celebrate at a wake. Most are hard drinkers and find any excuse to imbibe. When someone dies and is laid to rest is one of their better reasons.
The amount of food at this service is enormous. The womenfolk have spent days cooking up a vast feast to send me off. I have never seen so many dishes. I know the succulent aroma of cooking is overpowering, but not for me.
Sherry has been provided, but I notice many have a supply of hard spirits to spike the wine. Eventually the mourners will get tired, the party will peter out and the last drunks will stagger home. I attended many wakes as my friends and relatives aged and fell by the wayside. I feel left out of this one as nobody addresses me; why should they? I can supply no answer.
One diminutive lady stands apart with a wistful look on her pale face. It is Emma, the woman who wrote the love letters my wife found. She is out of place here and knows it. Nobody seems to recognized her and she is alone with her memories; memories only she and I shared, until I died. Jean has known about our liaison for some time, it seems.
Emma’s husband passed away and, as I was a co-worker, I attended his funeral as a pall bearer. Several hours later, in a drunken state, I attempted to console her. We were conscious of the attraction between us and I made a date to visit her at home. I also said that I could help her with the deceased’s effects.
One thing led to another and we drifted into a brief affair. It lasted a few weeks and then guilt swept over the two of us and I ended our liaison.
I received three letters from her in the ensuing months. I hid them in a file folder taped to underneath the cabinet top.
I am conscious that the coffin is being moved and I seem to pass into it as it is wheeled along a corridor. Iron doors open and the casket moves on rollers into the oven. The doors clang shut and I sense the flames turned up to full power. I feel no heat, I smell no smoke. I just know my corpse is being reduced to ashes; a small amount of ashes.
Eventually the doors are opened and the oven is cleaned out. The fiery inferno has done its job. It will be prepared to carry out the next cremation. Now I have no body to dwell in. I am without anything human to support me. There is nowhere I can spend any time. Time? It doesn’t matter any more.
I am left drifting in space. I often wondered if my spirit would end up in a new-born baby’s body after I died, but I sense no movement of my soul heading for a maternity ward. Where will I be going? I have no idea. I am simply drifting, drifting.
I am getting the hang of this world beyond death. It has been an hour or two since the last mourner departed and I have decided to drift over to my house and see how Jean is faring. She didn’t appear too upset when she left the reception.
How I passed through the front door is beyond my comprehension, but I wound up in the living room. Jean was nowhere to be seen.
There came the low sounds of female voices from upstairs. Some lady was comforting Jean, no doubt. I floated slowly towards the bedroom.
I could not understand what they were saying. Jean must really be upset as moans escaped the lips of both women. Someone was hyperventilating, as rapid indrawn breaths followed. I felt sad at what was going on in that room. I could offer no sympathy.
I passed into the room and to my astonishment, I saw Jean and my ex-lover, Emma, in bed thrashing spasmodically, clasped in a tight embrace. Then I heard primal screams as the two women climaxed