What happens when we die? Do we die at all? Is birth the start of or lives or just a moment of transition? My personal feeling, informed largely by Buddhist and Quaker thought is that life is evolving and everything that makes any moment possible ; the sun, the trees, the skin, bone, brain matter…comes together and continues to do so time after time as life. Yet there is a significance to someone passing. This song is about my Grandmother – I wrote it in the year after Nanna Swan passed away and while I felt maybe I should have felt sad about it, I actually felt enthusiastic about learning to love someone in a new way, I had recently been reading books on meditation that broached the subject asking questions as I do above. My other Grandparents had passed away when I was much younger, but along with a new acceptance these events were not wrong but a part of what life is, I began to talk to my Grandmother, as questions and develop a newness to our relationship. So where is your Grandmother, a friend asked, and the word everywhere came to me.
I would love to hear your thoughts and songs for this playlist.
Love this Joe. Having lost my dad in September, thoughts of life, death and continuation are never far from my mind. I feel so lucky to have learnt about this concept – when I’m contemplating the ‘cloud in my tea’ I’m also contemplating my father and my ancestors in me and how I will one day be in trees and flowers. Its mind-boggling, but grief isn’t what I expected when I think of things this way. Its obviously very upsetting sometimes and I allow the tears to flow when they need to, but sometimes I have moments of hearing the jokes that my dad would make about something, or I notice his characteristics in me, and these are almost like little moments of continuation celebration. When I was doing my counselling training, I really loved the idea of ‘continuing bonds’ which is a model of grief in which the griever is encouraged to integrate the dead into their lives in new ways, rather than ‘get over’ the death.
I feel the same as you Joe. I’m half my mum and half my dad. So physically they are me. I find it extremely logical. I am fascinated by death. I can’t believe more people aren’t and dont talk about it more.
I have found peace and comfort in the feeling that when my relatives die (and I guess we are all related if you go far enough back) they live on in me. They become me if you like and I become more like them. I even feel closer to them, or understand their essence more.
I also wonder (something my husband first mentioned actually) whether DNA holds memory. So, a certain place or smell or song will make me feel a certain way even though I have never had experience of it before.
I really believe in this, that we live other people’s legacies in our own lives. I always think of my grandparents as a compass for my life. That we live the love and honour that other people taught us, therefore continuing their legacy.
I’ve become quite a fan of Russell Brand these last years – here Russell talks to grief expert David Kessler – thought I’d add it in here.