At a recent town wake, I realised that we are a populous that truly believes in the reunion with loved ones after death, sincerely and with great depth. We attend church in this country primarily for christenings, weddings and wakes, outside of those circumstances few venture. When we do, the silences, the responses and mutterings of the people around us, sometimes give a fuller picture of who we are and what we individually agree on.
There were two aspects of the priest’s sermon at mass that created a dark disparity for me. The idea that when we die, and only then do we see this world through the eyes of Jesus Christ before being brought to one of his many rooms. My feeling with this is disconnect, after decades of life, surely, we have visited enough rooms to know that they are one in the same. What more do we need to see when we understand in our hearts the fullness of love and compassion that exists upon the abandonment of judgement. In the words of Frances Bacon, ‘Only God and angels need never judge.’
This priest utilised the departure of a loving mother to verse church politics on the upcoming abortion referendum. Three times he repeated. ‘She is not dead, she is gone to another life, her third life no less. In the womb,’ he stated, ‘she was on a journey through her first life before being responsibly delivered to her second, to live out her days with integrity and her eventual return to Jesus.’ The construct of this three lives idea was new and fitting neat with religious agenda, an irresponsible attempt in my view to manipulate social construct in the middle of a profoundly moving farewell.
We have been witnesses to the many women and on occasion children who have been forced to put the life of an undeveloped embryo or fetus before their own. Innocent people who have been raped and impregnated with no choice in this country but to see the pregnancy to full term. Kids are left without mothers who are given no option to terminate, with conditions where their chance of survival is slim to none, husbands are left without wives, parents without their children. It is time for this to stop.
Believing in God or not, at no point did Jesus ask his children to suffer like him, at no point did he want them to sacrifice their lives for another. He did not imply that any such doctrine should be enforced at government level and yet this pious priest gets to poke at the heart of people in the depths of grief.
There are more significant lessons to be learnt here if we are to support life by donating organs, then we might need to share the considerations with our loved ones. They might need to keep our bodies breathing beyond the point of death and sit with us through a series of surgeries, through the night in some cases, to sign off for on a series of successive operations to harvest our organ before turning off any machine.
I’ll leave you with a few lines that help me in respect of loss. I talk to you my sweet bustle of roses, you that started as a living growing potted plant. I will miss your edge amongst the posies, for you did push to understand. With you someday, I will unwind my tackle as we listen girlishly to the distant song of the birds.