I crossed the road and a big, red bus from the Potteries Motor Traction company rushed, towering towards me. As the brakes shrieked I calmly said inside ‘Goodbye World’. I was 6 years old.
Around the same time I had an out-of-the-body experience. When, as a Roman Catholic, I made the sign of the cross I would say ‘In the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Ghost’.
The after-life, death, heaven, hell and purgatory were part of parcel of my life; every bit as important as maths, football and smoking behind the bike sheds.
I have always wanted to know about what is next in order to make sense of what is now. Know this : I want there to be an afterlife. I try to be as objective as I can but I know what I want.
And I want it more now because my mother is dead. (That is the first time i have written those four words.) She is dead and I want to know what that means. What that means for her, for me and for all of us.
Over the years I have attended spiritualist churches, read many accounts of near-death experiences, dabbled in tarot and i-chi, stared into the sky and tried to find trace elements of the divine in songs. I wasn’t waiting for the Hound of Heaven to find me. I was actively looking for it. I even wrote a screenplay set in the afterlife with various scenes of people passing.
I remember speaking to my mother when she was told me she was afraid of death. I pointed out that she would have been equally scared when she was born had she the faculties to see what was going on. Death is the same, I told her, but it worries us because we are aware. She could not understand how heaven could accommodate so many people. I told her that light illuminates space but does not take up space. Hers was a simple faith.
When you die I think your soul leaves your body. I think souls are as real as your body but vibrate at a higher rate. We can’t see souls or the afterlife in much the same way as we can’t see infrared and ultraviolet light. But I think people who have passed on, our own holy ghosts, are around us all the time.
I think that we are met by loved ones or spiritual guides (guardian angels) when we shuffle off this mortal coil. And think we take stock of our lives. I think earthly concerns disappear. And why wouldn’t they after has just happened?
And most of all I think my mother is at peace and happy. Because now she knows what she always believed.
“My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.”