Earlier this year I saw a post on a friend's Facebook page.
Incredibly touched moment: while working with my kindergarten math group a little one, ( L) had noticed the picture on my lock screen which was the last family picture we took with daddy. She says that's a nice picture. I said thank you that was the last one I had with my dad. She then responds did he die? I said yes he did to which she replied wow that's sad. I said yes I miss him. She then proceeded to come over and put a x on my chest just below my chin and she said he still lives in here. Totally just about started crying right then and there. I said yes dear he does live in there and always will.
I thought it was a touching story. At the same time, for those of us whose lives have been touched by the trauma of death, it triggers the stress response as we once again are immersed in the pain and fear surrounding that event.
Friends and family, try to offer solace with words and symbolic gifts. Communities develop rituals of support. Ancestral shrines in the Orient, Halloween in Christendom, and Dia de Muertos in Hispanic culture can all be thought of as community responses.
But globalization and secularization have largely emasculated many of these efforts. Who remembers the symbolic meaning of a purple hyacinth? Halloween has been commercialized to the point of oblivion and Dia de Muertos is not far behind. The words of comfort offered by the kindergartner are judged an empty cliché by many.
The dead remain alive in our memories and our affections. We honor them with our commitments and our values. We dedicate our accomplishments to them. But most of us don't envision them as actually "living" inside of us.
The Bible, on the other hand, speaks repeatedly of God living with and in us. It also promises that the dead will return to life at some future time. Are these sayings to be taken literally or are they euphemisms like we use to comfort ourselves in the face of death? A future resurrection cannot be proven any more than death as a doorway or death as oblivion. Evidence can be put forth. Proof is elusive.
"Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 Weymouth
Faith is always a choice. What we choose to believe powerfully affects the way we experience the traumas of this life.