Seven weeks since my beloved Maggie died and she still is central in my morning meditation. Simone Weil got it right when she defined prayer as “Attention taken to its highest degree”. What a tragedy that many still see it as making a request of a guy in the sky to pull some levers.
The first thing to note is that to be alive for eighty four years is something for which to be thankful. The second thing is that it was a good way to die – a few minutes of headache from a stroke, unconsciousness, and death twenty hours later. I learned yesterday of one who had a stroke nineteen years ago, has been in bed semi conscious since then, and who is visited daily by her husband to feed her. Nineteen years! My heart goes out to that couple and highlights for me the validity of euthanasia, and my impatience with those who oppose it. I am becoming increasingly tired of those who see life in terms of dualistic thinking: this or that, right or wrong, black or white, good or bad and so on. Its dominance is probably due to the digital thinking that now dominates our lives, the computer being simply a machine that asks yes or no questions at an unimaginable speed. (I wrote a sermon on it some time ago. It is probably worth re-reading it and putting it in the sermon section.) The significance of it was highlighted for me when some twit wrote an extensive article on the question of freedom of religion. His conclusion was that such is permissible providing the practice “does not violate the civil law”. Glory to the civil law in the highest! As a “legal practitioner”, I know something about “the Law” and I am not impressed by the idea that it be seen as the criteria of life. It also is based on the yes/no principle and a Judge or jury determining whether a person is “guilty or not guilty”.
The thing that I remember most vividly concerning the death of my life long loving and loved partner, is the last three hours of her life. At midnight the family left and I was left sitting beside a bed with my beloved breathing heavily and loudly. And at 3am it stopped. It simply stopped! The Spirit of Life (my way of defining the word “God”) simply departed. And in the quietness I gave thanks for a life that was lived in the light of Jesus of Nazareth. She didn’t say “It is finished!” as he did, but for me that is what Marg’s death was all about. No chorus of angels in some heavenly realm, no afterlife based on reward or punishment. Just the three words “It is finished!” – and a sense of thankfulness.
To be sure, I miss her enormously. She continues to live both in my mind and in her daily absence,