Friday, June 3, 2016

Do You Believe in Love After Death?

In my book A Ghost of a Second Chance, Laine Colllins, recently separated from her husband, is confronted by her grandmother’s ghost, Madeleine, who has come to escort Laine’s recently deceased grandfather, Sid, to his next life. The problem? The body lying in Sid’s casket is not Sid and Madeleine needs Laine’s help to find him. As Laine and Madeleine search churches and mortuaries for the missing Sid, Laine is forced to face the question—can love live even after it has died?  

Thirty-nine years ago I lost my mother. I worry about to losing my elderly father. But just like my hometown has changed from a tiny, sleepy dairy farming community with a population of 5,000 to a bedroom community of Seattle, and Rancho Santa Margarita where I've lived for twenty-six years has radically changed (good heavens, when we moved to Rancho we had coyotes roaming the streets and the lake and library were figments of our imaginations) people and places change. But love stays. Even after death. Henry Van Dyke said it best.

“I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
"There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, "There, she is gone!"
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad
"Here she comes!"
And that is dying.

And just like today I can get on a plane and my family won’t see me for awhile, someday I’ll close my eyes forever and my family won’t see me for awhile. But that doesn’t mean I’ll love them any less. It just means they won’t see me, the me that makes my body me. Although, they could preserve my body—shudder—but my body is not me, it's merely the housing for the real me. And someday, it will be taken from me... for a short (compared to eternity) time.

This is what I believe about love and death. What do you believe?

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