Friday, April 1, 2011



Imagine if you could talk to a baby in the womb and explain its unity with the mother. How this cord of belonging gives it life. If you could then tell the baby that this was about to end. It was going to be expelled from the womb, pushed through a very narrow passage finally to be dropped out into vacant, open light. The cord which held it to this mother-womb was going to be cut and that it was going to be on its own for ever more. If the baby could talk back, it would fear that it was going to die. For the baby within the womb being born would seem like death. Our difficulty with these great questions is that we are only able to see them from one side. In other words, we can only see death from one side. No-one has had the experience. Those who have died stay away; they do not return. Therefore, we cannot actually see the other half of the circle which death opens. Wittgenstein summed it up very nicely with the idea that death is not an experience in one's life. It cannot be an experience because it is the end of the life in which and through which all experience came to you.

I like to imagine that death is about rebirth. The soul is now free in a new world where there is no more separation or shadow or tears. A friend of mine lost a son of twenty-six years of age. I was at the funeral. Her other children were all there as the coffin was lowered into the grave. A terrible wail of sadness rose up from the brothers and sisters. She put her arms around them and said: 'Ná bigí ag caoineadh, níl tada dhó thios ansin ach amháin an clúdach a bhí air,' which translates as, let ye not be crying because there is nothing of him down there, only the covering that was on him in this life. It is a lovely thought, a recognition that the body was merely a covering and the soul is now freed for the eternal.

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