My understanding of human death has changed and it is such a relief. When I was pregnant my friend Katherine told me her story about sputnik, which she defined as meaning 'fellow traveler'. A sputnik is someone who will travel with you on a trip, or go together with you into a train of thought, following an idea. After her husband died, Katherine was able to maintain communication with him, deepening their connection over time as she learned to navigate this new form of relationship. When I was pregnant and Katherine would think about our friendship and the coming baby, she always felt Garrick, her husband, say 'sputnik' very clearly. She soon came to understand that the spirit of the baby and Garrick were fellow travelers, in the same form, on the same level.
Knowing this from Katherine helped clarify many things for me. I felt sure that the baby growing inside my body was alive and well but I did not believe that it was just a physical object created by cell division and growing from good nutrition. I believed that the baby had chosen me to act as its mother and that it had chosen the time at which it came. I knew that when I held this new baby in my arms for the first time, it would not be the baby's first time here on earth. The body was new and that had formed inside of me, but the spirit was old and wise and independent, determined to live a life that it already understood would be full of expansion and wonder.
Humans talk about where we go or what happens after we die. Being pregnant made me wonder why it is not common to talk about where we come from. I believe we come from the same place that we go to. There are many words to describe it, all of them and none of them work. Currently I use words like Universal Love, the infinite, or just simply, sputnik. Have you seen that Adam Sandler movie where he marries a friend so the fellow firefighter can gain insurance benefits? The human that performs their wedding keeps talking about a circle, its like a circle. The scene in that movie sums it all for me. Its that simple. Life is a circle.
I keep wanting to put in a disclaimer and maybe here is a good place to do it. In this physical life of mine, I have never had the experience of anyone close to me dying. I am 44 and part of the issue is that I haven't been close to many people. Katherine was my closest friend and she was someone I only saw once a month at best and had only known for 4 years. And by the time she died I was already well into this understanding so she lives on so clearly in my everyday life. When someone leaves that is someone I touch every day, I'm not sure how all these ideas will hold up. That's partly why I want to get my beliefs sorted out as soon as possible. This is a priority and writing about it really helps.
I desire for my kid to grow up as free as possible, to live as a free human. I believe he arrived totally free and mostly my responsibility lies in encouraging and supporting that freedom. I try to speak very clearly and intentionally about issues that tend to box us humans in. Like death. I use the word die but I also use the words transition, change, return home. But words are generally just Charlie Brown's teacher talking to a child and experience will really make the impression. That is why I stand in awe of the infinite creativity and loving generosity of the Universe as I have watched my desire for a free child be supported by mama Jean.
We met Annette about 2 1/2 years ago and became fast friends, and neighbors as she only lives 4 miles from here. She lives with her mom, Jean, who is in her high 90's. Over time we have watched Jean's physical body slow down and grow tired as they do. Mateo and I have had the opportunity to talk many times about her transition, the process that she is going through. We talked about how she is almost done with her physical body and her spirit will return to where he himself came from. There has never been any sadness in these talks, only joy and awe at the beautiful human experience. We were blessed with the chance to visit only 12 hours before she left and mateo climbed right up in bed with her and stroked her skin, something he had never done in the past. The next day we visited the family and he asked where they buried mama Jean. Our friend and Jean's grand daughter Ashley, gave a lovely explanation of cremation and described how they would sprinkle her ashes and set her free.
A few days ago we attended the Celebration of Life and mateo comforted Ashley by rubbing his cheek against hers and telling her that its alright, Grandma will come back in a different body. (This is not something I personally have talked to him about but I like his idea that the spirit lives on and will continue to interact with our physical world.) Ashley was comforted by his sincerity and that he sweetly allowed her to cry without becoming upset himself. Oh the appreciation I feel for the whole experience is beyond my tiny human mind. He is not even four yet and has had a lovely, intimate relationship with death and dying. I am grateful to have known mama Jean for many reasons and I will always hold her dear as the generous being who left her body and left my child a chance to live free.