As human beings, we often forget that we have to thank those around us.
MY GRANDFATHER DIED IN 2004
When my grandfather passed away in 2004, I was devastated. He had, after all, raised me. He taught me the value of the pad and the pen, the difference between “right” and “wrong,” and the valuation of life in currency (or lack thereof). In fact, I attribute most of my greatest talents to him, who once said: “Take that rage, and put it on a page.” When he left us, we were caught up in the magnificent glory of death, which so many of us seem to fear rather than to become excited over. What is more exciting than death? I ask you that question vastly and honestly: what is so frightening about the idea of passing on? We often see life as a circular facet. We are born, we breathe, we live, and we die. That was all I could think of when he passed.
BUT THEN CAME THE SIGNS
One night after he passed, we were going through his old belongings. We stumbled upon his tape selection (yes, he recorded everything on VHS – I like to think he was an early Millennial beyond his time). Without thinking, I chucked the VHS tape titled: “Heaven Can Wait” into the pile of things we decided to not keep. After all, we were mourning; we were trying to forget every facetious aspect of him. That is often what we do in death. When we mourn, we have to let go of the psychological attachment we have to someone. We want to keep only that which will preserve their memory, yet we forget that that ability is available to us, always. In fact, I do not regret chucking those tapes. But then the strangest thing happened…
HBO WAS ONLY SUPPOSED TO…
My grandmother kindly told me to go watch television. I sat in front of her enormous television set, which was (at the time) a $10,000 gizmo that was somewhere around the size of…well, the entire room. The back stuck out rudely, positioned slightly against the arc of the corner. I recall what was once there: a bar, even though no one in our family really drank. I recall pouring myself ginger ale into a cup, pretending it was alcohol (oh, as children we often make such mistakes, such as parents ignoring that their son is pretending to drink). I sat down on the couch, and guess what was on? HBO. Now, the funny thing is, HBO was only supposed to last the short duration of three days. It was day four, so it surely should have been cancelled by then. After all, it came with a signup package, but we did not want HBO. We wanted whatever channel has “Cops.”
HEAVEN CAN SURELY WAIT
Guess what was on? On the channel we thought we had cancelled, “Heaven Can Wait” was playing on TV. I do not recall exactly how long it lasted, but I do know HBO did two things for me that day: 1) it lasted just long enough to reveal my father’s favorite movie (remember? I chucked it in the garbage), and 2) it provided room for him to show us that his presence was surely not misrepresented. When the movie shut off (almost seconds later), the front door flew open with a ghostly presence. Next, the closet door swung open. Any scientist or psychologist would attribute some simultaneous reason for this supposed “ghostly phenomenon.” One would say the front door had been left open from Sitting Shiva; another would say it was just wind blowing open a door. Yeah, we often try to justify things that are strange to us. Me? I said: “Hi, grandpa…”
WHAT DEATH TEACHES US
As said (roughly translated) from the movie: “Heaven Is Real” (you should check this one out – it is a great movie): “What happens when something so beyond your own rationality occurs that it cannot be explained by other means? What, then?” In other words, we all seem to fear death so much that we forget the exciting nature of this experience. What is the one thing we will all do one day? We will pass on. They say we have two things in common with every other man: 1) that we will die, and 2) that we will have to pay taxes. Because I do not pay taxes, I can only say that yes, one day I will surely pass on. And guess what? What is more exciting than that? This does not mean I wish to die. Do not mistake that for a suicidal statement.
A SIMPLE ANSWER AFTER ALL
Rather, examine the reality: we do not know what comes after we pass. We know one thing and one thing only: that something occurs after we pass on. Why are we so mortally afraid of the idea of passing on? It is actually quite an adventure. We have no idea what is waiting for us on the other side. Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Do dogs go to heaven? Do we return as energy, as Buddhist teachings preach? Do we return as nothing, where we wander the earth in search of escape? That is a question none of us can fully answer, no matter what we believe. All we know is, something happens, and we do not know what. Something occurs after death, even in the form of nothingness. But what is more exciting than the unexpected?
TO CONCLUDE THE CONCLUSION
I have to conclude this entry with only one word: “consideration.” Was my grandfather trying to show me something exists beyond paranormal expectations? Was it merely the wind? Coincidence? I do not know the answers to those questions, and that excites me! All I know now is, my grandfather was trying to show me one thing and one thing only: that there is no point in fearing death. Rather, we have to embrace it, and avoid being so mortally afraid of the end. We will all pass on. What comes after it is essential, because despite religious preaching, tales of energy returning to the earth, spirits in Native American cultures, and so many other belief systems, we will never know the answer of: “Is there something after?” until it occurs…