People often have many feelings, sometimes conflicting, when a loved one or acquaintance dies, what did you feel?
There is sadness, but a feeling for me, that somehow, it’s not over. I seek ways to remember the person, to keep their memory alive, as I would all the ancestors.
What thoughts or ideas about death comforted you at the time of that person’s death?
I never considered this thought, but I keep the memory alive and hope that my memory will live on somehow. I think of them in peace and love.
What did that person believe about death? Did he or she believe in an afterlife? Do you?
I don’t think my Uncle Jim and my Grandma thought much past what their faith, Roman Catholicism told them. That is, there would be a heavenly reward awaiting them. But what sense does that make when you are a non-practicing Catholic like Uncle, who had the audacity to marry a Jewish woman and was thereby ostracized anyway, or Grandma, who left this world in a state of mental and physical incapacitation, unaware of what was happening, at least to the observer.
How did this person’s death change your life? How did it change your ideas about death and what death means?
Both events made me want to make preparations, leave something meaningful. I also feel that we should leave the world better or at least the same as we found it. But that’s just me. These deaths did not change anything for me.
In what ways do our UU values help us when someone dies? Do the seven principles (for example) address death and what happens when we die?
I don’t find any clear advice about this, except that we are a part of the web of all creation, and as such, return to it or morph into another way of being a part of that.
After thinking about death and remembering the death of someone you knew, what gives you hope?
I want to be remembered, and I want to remember all those who went before.