The non-Linear nature of death and the eternal now: September 7, 2009Posted by johnbohlinger in Uncategorized.
A Cemetery of the Capuchins monks lies beneath a small Chapel at Via Vento 27 in Rome. Literally thousands of ghoulish skeletons adorn the walls and ceilings of the crypt, their bones artistically arranged. There’s a small sign amongst these bones written in Latin which translates “What you are, we were. What we are, you will be.” I find that morbidly comforting.
My son August’ birthday came and went two days ago. Milestones like birthdays evoke memories of his birthdays past. It’s so strange how days fall in chronological order but memories radically break that sequence. My son’s first birthday, which happened 21 years ago, seems more present and real to me than what I did this morning. The day he died still doesn’t seem real though I’ve had two years to adjust to the idea. That’s the funny thing about time, the closer you observe it’s passing, the more abstract it seems.
I have a theory about time, space, life and death, influenced by what I’ve read about different religious theories and my semi-understanding of the space-time continuum, but mostly my theory stems from my need for peace of mind and a break from grief. Maybe it’s crazy or maybe it’s inspired. You judge.
The non-Linear nature of death and the eternal now:
Christians believe in a day of rapture when all souls living and long since dead unite with God; as if my mother, three years gone, and my son, two years gone, Theodore D. Roosevelt, 90 years gone, wait in heaven to meet us when we die or when Jesus returns, which ever comes first. I think/hope that when we move out of life, we pass out of linear time and enter a realm of the eternal now. Maybe at the final millisecond we breath our last, we break past this world’s frame work of sequential order and enter a dimension where we all begin again simultaneously: call it heaven, Eden, Zion,Olympus, Elysium, Valhalla, Nirvana, the happy hunting grounds, what ever. It’s like my son August stepped through this door exiting life in 2007, Gandhi in 1948, me sometime in the future, but we all enter the door of the next dimension at the same time; the moment of universal rapture. In short, we all get to the next place together. I like that idea.
I never could stand the thought of August being alone or afraid in another place away from me, even if that place is heaven, (I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense). I take a lot of comfort in the thought that my mother and my grandparents are with my son in death, enjoying each other’s company but I would prefer all of us together in the eternal present.
There are two options: either death is the end and my son is quite literally reduced to memories and dust, or there is an existence beyond life; if option two proves to be what awaits us, August is there, and so am I, just in another space, rather than another time.
I just re-read this and it sounds a bit crazed, but look at Dante, the guy’s magna opus ran for thousands of pages with his view of the after life, inspired by his unrequited love and grief over Beatrice. Since losing Aug, I can’t stop thinking about death, though it’s a futile pursuit in that there are no answers, just theories we can or can not live with. I can live with this one.