Friday, August 29, 2008

I have been thinking............

One of the advantages of traveling like we do is that there are plenty of loooong driving days where my mind just sets free on its own journey while my eye and the camera take in the passing scenery.  One of the topics most on my mind lately is the one of "rest in peace" when a person dies.  Well, I sincerely hope I don't offend anyone with these thoughts.  

In almost every culture or religious belief that I know of, one of the main themes is an Afterlife.  I have seen people put letters in the coffin with a person they love, we talk to them still after they have left this dimension - heck, we even yell at them!   We believe they can hear us and sometimes they even come to us in dreams.... Older cultures made sure that their dead were buried with company, servants, tools and food to  make sure they have a head start on the other side....   

Ok - so presuming that the majority of us believe that there is an afterlife, why, in Heavens name (excuse me!) do we want the person to Rest In Peace??  This conjours up the mental picture of a person lying in a coffin with their arms crossed just resting and not having a whole lot of life or fun at all.  Horrible in more ways than 100.  This is in no way what I want for those who meant so much to me while they were still living here...... I want them to be skipping between the planets, having a gazillion "Aha!" moments, grinning at the mischief they got up to here and laughing at just how serious we all still are back here on this ball of rock!  I want them to be playing their favorite sports, laughing with friends who got there first and generally having............yes.............."an Afterlife"!

I want them to be able to be all they want to be, in healthy bodies, with love and laughter and sunshine and beauty and happiness!  Not "Resting In Peace" at all!   Most cultures paint the mental image of this absolutely amazing place 'on the other side', where the colors are brighter, the flowers more beautiful, the fields and valleys amazing and the light just brilliant..... I don't want to rest in peace in a place like this!  I want the afterlife to be a place where the answers are known, or at least to know that the answers were not really important at all and maybe even the question had little value in the big picture.  I want the afterlife to be a place where there is no loneliness or sadness or somberness or pain. I want the afterlife to be a wonder-filled place.   I want to be able to go for long hikes, smell the air, fly with the birds and run with the wind - I want to LIVE!  

So from now on, I am not going to say RIP or 'Rest In Peace' or any such thing when someone leaves us early......... my hopes, dreams and sincere wishes will be. L.I.L.  This stands for Live in Love... Live in Laughter...  Live in Light....  Live in Life!

So, Adrian, Penny, Greg's mom - Carolyn and all others that have gone on ahead of us - I wish you anything but RIP - I wish you................... L.I.L!

love and light


Anonymous said...


I agree with your thoughts & wishes & love the L.I.L. Your descriptions of the afterlife mirror my concepts.

I know the Rest in Peace comes from a wish that the soul be free from trouble while awaiting Judgment Day, but I don't really believe in Judgment Day.

I have, however, been with someone whose death was a prolonged & painful, agony. Resting in peace was high on my list of wishes for him, not eternally, but transitionally. I wished for him a state of grace beyond pain, serenity. We all went through similar with Penny.

Same with my cat who died in my bed after days of increasing misery.

In death, their bodies & faces were transformed into youthful, prediseased states, the pain gone at long last. The grimace relaxed into, well, peace. They looked more like I rememberd them than they had in a long time.

Maybe we are whooshed into the afterlife instantly. We have all heard of the tunnel & the white light. Maybe time has no meaning. But I sense there is a tranquil space between the pain & the afterlife orientation. Peace.

So I hope they are all frolicking & enjoying an afterlife beyond their wildest dreams, & ours. Surely there is 'liquid bread' for Charlie, fields of mousies for Figaro to chase, endless enchantment for all.

But when death came, I was thinking, feeling, wishing: RIP.

Gloria aka Fig

hockeychic said...

I like this post....helpful to read and think about people that I miss that have gone to the "other side". I think of "Rest in Peace" as being a wish for a respite from pain, stress, illness. Recently, a mother of a friend of mine passed away and I went to the visitation, in my younger years, I did not like to look at dead bodies, it really disturbed me, this did not...she looked peaceful and younger. It was comforting.