Contemplation of death

‘Nanny, why did Grandad die?’
My grandson, aged four, no longer cries to see his grandad. Eighteen months on, he accepts that Grandad is not in hospital, is not away somewhere, will not return to give him a hug. He is questioning what happened, what does death mean, why do people die.

At his tender age, he is asking questions that many of us find difficult to fully comprehend ourselves. His questioning sparked my own. I took a good look at my beliefs. The question I asked myself was ‘do they stand up to the reality of losing a loved one?’  

One of the beauties of being pagan is the freedom to choose which beliefs to follow. No one tells you what you must believe, thus your beliefs align with your conscience, with your heart. I accept that my beliefs are my own. I respect other people’s right to their beliefs and I do not seek to undermine or denigrate anyone else’s belief by discussing my own.

I look closely to nature to guide my life; we are after all part of the natural cycle. I adjust what I do as far as possible to reflect the seasons. I plan new projects in the winter while restoring my energy. I spark them into life in the spring, bring them to full growth in the summer, reap their benefits in the autumn, at least that’s what I hope for. Bringing projects to fulfilment does not always go according to plan. Some projects will continue for another year. Some will come to a natural end.

In nature plants grow, fulfil their purpose, set the seeds for the next generation, return to the ground, their cycle completed. Many people believe in an afterlife. I do not. I feel that the energy that makes us individuals may well stay around for a while before it dissipates to become part of the earth energy, the building blocks of life.

I was once discussing this with a friend of Christian beliefs, a long time ago. He said to me ‘tell me you still believe that when someone you love dies, or when you are on your death bed.’

My grandson’s questioning prompted me to review my beliefs. Facing my husband’s death has not changed them. I found this reconsideration of what I do and why, far from weakening my beliefs, has strengthened them. I suspect that I will build this type of deeper introspection into my routine undertakings, keeping my beliefs firmly in my heart and reminding me why I value being pagan.

My beliefs, my choice, my responsibility.

Written by Portland Jones, PF Disabilities Liaison for the Midlands