Tag Archives: After death

Sudden Death Overtime and New Year Wishes

                                [thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

People say “It’s a new year” and the good wishes come a-flying from every direction.  I don’t mind, I’m all but immune from, and inured to, any good wish.  For me, a “new year” (if I acknowledged such a thing as valid) would mean something as at the end of “V for Vendetta”.  Basically, the idea expressed by “V” is,  “the world until today belonged to me and it ends with me tonight.  Tomorrow a new world is born, and you, “Evey” will nurture that new world.” 

You see, it’s a truism, like it or not, that for something new to begin, something old must die.  If all that “dies” is a number on a man-made calendar or the passing of a certain point in a planet’s orbit around the sun, that is not a death but an illusion.  People don’t change, nor do their systems and societies, just by changing a year number, from 2016 to 2017.  I think the farce has gone on long enough.  I think it’s high time for would-be adults to take responsibility for their words and “do” something instead of just “saying” something because it feels good to say it, or worse, it’s traditional.

Life isn’t about feeling good.  Am I saying something anyone hasn’t figured out yet?  Life is a series of challenges, and some of those are quite heavy.  Sometimes it’s a horrendous event beyond anyone’s control, and sometimes it’s a change that may bring good things, or bad things.  Life is a struggle.  Those who do not struggle are not living: alive, yes, but not living.

But back to my favourite subject: death.  For me, a new year has always been about death because death implies renewal: no death, no renewal.  So each year I die and each year, hopefully, if I take responsibility for my own life, I renew myself.  Dying is an interesting process.  We’re all dying, all the time, but we spend our time denying it instead of teasing meaning out of it. 

Some quotes about being dead, the dead, dying:

“Being dead filled her beyond fulfillment.
Like a fruit
 suffused with its own mystery and sweetness,
she was filled with her vast death, which was so new,
she could not understand that it had happened.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke.

“I have my dead, and I have let them go,
and was amazed to see them so contented,
so soon at home in being dead, so cheerful,
so unlike their reputation.
Only you return; brush past me, loiter, try to knock
against something, so that the sound reveals your presence.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Requiem for a Friend.

All of life is a symphony of successive losses.  You lose your youth, your parents, your loves, your friends, your comforts, your health, and finally your life.  To deny loss is to lose it all anyway and to lose, in addition, your self-possession and your peace of mind. (Isaac Asimov – “Nemesis”)

What a solemn thing is this infinity which every man bears within him, and which he measures with despair against the caprices of his brain and the actions of his life!
(Victor Hugo, Les Miserables)

We can die by degrees (while hiding the truth from ourselves with drugs, work or play) or we can die suddenly.  Sudden death is cheap: it doesn’t teach much and perhaps that is why so many would choose it.  “Eat, drink and be merry” then “dead!”  There’s death by slow-kill disease and that one is a monster though some manage to harness it, learn and teach from it.  Still, it wouldn’t be my choice because I hate pain and consider it to be an unnatural effect of a twisted and tortured world.

The best kind of death, for me, is the one I’m on.  I call it, “sudden death overtime” only it isn’t sudden death at all since I’ve been in it for 20 years now.  I had set a date for myself to shed this body and go on vacation throughout the cosmos for a while.  20 years later I’m still contemplating that final separation sequence but this body isn’t showing much sign of letting go or slowing down.  It’s like a combination of the Energizer bunny and the Timex watch that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. 

Nota bene: I’m NOT complaining!  But here’s the difference:  I am dying, not by accident of birth, but by choice.  Each dying day brings me closer to the last one and in each, as I look towards the finish line, I learn something new about myself, something that only my contemplation of death could reveal.  

Now try to see the effect of a New Year’s good wish for me: “May you experience your good death this coming year!”  For most people, that wouldn’t go over so well.  For me, I’d have a positive response to such a wish.  What does that say of my mindset; my philosophy about life?  Certifiable… or expanded awareness?

In “V for Vendetta” “V” sets “Evey” up with a fake arrest, incarceration, interrogation, torture and constant threat of death if she doesn’t reveal “to the authorities” what she knows about “V.”  She refuses, and at the end is condemned to be excuted by firing squad.  Convinced it was her last few minutes alive, when questioned one last time she gives a resounding “No!” to the promise of total freedom if she reveals what she knows about “V.”  At that moment she earned her freedom; she had conquered her fear of death.  Her life changed.  From a frightened mouse in a horrid world she became a change agent, resilient and fearless.   

Somewhere deep in the subconscious we’re all “V” and “Evey” cocooned away, hidden.  I am convinced that what enslaves us more than anything else is our constant fear of “death” – that nebulous, unknown factor; that terrible thief  that hounds every minute of our physical life, whether we are conscious of it or not.  We hunt happiness and haunt the pleasure principle trying to get the most out of every minute. 

There are people who harbour such a great fear of death that they have to indulge in “extreme” sports and other death defying nonsense to try to prove to themselves that they don’t fear it.  It is those people who fear death the most though they are seen as the opposite.  That is how the fear of death brainwashing works. 

Try to ignore it, or spend your time challenging it: the first “effort” is a waste since the company of death has much to teach particularly on detachment and self-empowerment; the bravado of the second is a congruence of twisted cowardice and pride, nothing more.    

Perhaps one has to reach a certain age before one is comfortable in death’s company.  Or perhaps it’s a question of greater awareness; of a mind set free from the shackles of organized religion, spiritually dead scientism or ignorant hedonism.  A day came for me long ago when I was sure death had taken me.  I was relieved, so much so that when I found myself physically alive again I was not at all happy until I realized I had gained a new friend: death would walk with me the rest of the way – and I found her to be very, very wise. 

So next time you hear, “we are not alone”  know that you have one constant, steadfast companion who will walk with you every step of the way to your last breath and beyond.  She’ll show you the way, and she will help you change if you want to put in the effort.

My Friend, the Lady in Black

I walked uncertain, so dead tired
Lost in a grey shattered landscape
Of crumbling hills and broken trees,
Eroded gullies and clumps of dried grass.
I walked under a leaden sky
With the sun a deadly copper disc
Fixed overhead as if never to set;
I staggered until I could go no further

Falling and sliding against a rounded stone
That had witnessed many a season
Under such a day as this.
I fell asleep, or I died, not sure which
But when I awoke
There was the Lady in Black
Standing still beside my wrecked body.
She gestured for me to stand
I did, much to my surprise
For the body did not stir, nor eyes blink.

“Come” she said beckoning
And we walked around the hill
Into a garden to provide pleasures
Not to be found on the world I’d left.
“Enjoy” she said and vanished:
I felt terribly alone once again.

 

 

Thoughts about Dying

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

(Preamble: What does one do when one day away from one’s 70th birthday and having been living for 20 years in what I call sudden death overtime?  I don’t know about other people, but for me thinking about dying seems a logical and proper mind exercise.  After all, the closer one is to departure, the more likely one is to think about it.  About what will be required at the gate, and about the destination, of course.  Who goes on a trip and doesn’t know, or care, about their destination?  So, let’s do some thinking about dying.)

  Yeah, I’ve thought about dying.  In fact, I’ve thought about dying lots of times.  Before I began to think about dying in English, I used to think about dying in French.  Somewhere in between, when I worked with Central American refugees from the White House’s Assassin–in-Chief Ronald Reagan whose CIA contras specialized in capturing, torturing and murdering unarmed Guatemalan native campesinos, I learned a bit of useful Spanish, and then I thought about dying in Spanish.  I learned to sing Guantanamera in Spanish and sang it as close as I could to the original as sung by The Sandpipers,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm1anurhbeg ) then I learned the English translation.  “My words are like a wounded fawn seeking refuge in the forest… Before I die I want to share these words of my soul…” 

          When I was little I thought about dying because I was afraid of it.  I knew, even then, that I was born to die.  I remembered a previous life in which I had died painfully and violently; when I had spent a lot of time in a cold, dank prison, thinking about dying; about how nice it would be to just go to sleep finally one night and never wake up.  When you are being tortured, you think about dying.  Dying is a gift the gods are very reticent to grant you because, I suppose, the gods invented suffering and death and they feel cheated if you arrive at the one without fully experiencing the other.  They get off on man’s pain and suffering, you see.

          I still think about death a lot.  I think of it as the bottomless, endless topic.  But I no longer think of death as an escape from reality.  I’m experienced now, and I remember that death was never an escape.  I learned that whatever I was; whatever I’d become; passed with me through those black doors.  Whatever I was, that was inescapable reality. 

          I cannot escape what I am. So when I think about dying now, I have to remember this simple lesson and prepare myself for death accordingly.  It’s no different than planning a very, very serious trip.  It could even be a journey if I beat the odds this time around and I don’t find myself right back here with only a few months, or years of interim fogginess of mind.  Death is funny that way; it likes you to go through its doors over and over.  Death has a magnificent set of ebony black matte revolving doors and he’s unduly proud of them.  The more times people pass through them the shinier they get. 

          How did Death design his doors?  I’ll try to make a long story short.  Think of all the doors of the world designed to keep something, or someone, from escaping.   Think prison doors, and how inventive, clever and imaginative man has been in designing prison doors to create a sense of utter hopelessness behind those doors.  Take every design of every prison door and put that into one set of massive doors.  Pretty impressive.  It’s psychological.  You’re supposed to think; to believe; that when you cross that threshold you’ll never get out again.  So you lose your mind; you go into a coma; you remember nothing when your time’s up and you are set “free” for another round at the wheel.  They wipe your memory so you won’t remember.  The reason is simple: they want you to die all over again as if it was the very first and only time. 

          They want you to live in an inescapable fear of death.  Those who fear death are easily manipulated into unthinkable antisocial acts against anyone they believe can rob them of life.  Fear of death is a belief in serious limitation: one life, then nothing.  Or for a dwindling number, one life then a judgment by a god of terror.  Some choice.  I remember that god of terror.  He was even more frightening than Death because he held those eternal chains that would keep you in a burning hell forever.  I remember doing the math on my chances at an eternity in heaven instead of hell: the odds weren’t good.   And I remember thinking also, how can I be sure that an eternity in heaven with a psychopathic god will be better than one in hell?  I thought, it probably compares to voting Republican or Democrat.  Liberal or Conservative.  The lesser of evils is still evil.

          Then I grew up some.  I learned some tricks on how to access deep memory; the part they can’t wipe out before they send you back.  The data wasn’t great and lots of it is corrupted, but there was enough to reconstruct some memories; to remember.  From delving into those remains of past lives I reconstructed some of them and learned Death’s great secret; that it isn’t an end, nor is it a passage into a predetermined eternity of bliss or the most terrible of eternal pain.  It was a revolving door and if I came to that door again I could hold some seriously powerful bargaining chips with which I could bargain for my freedom – if I did the work that is.

          So I’ve been thinking about death a whole lot more since the day I exposed its secret.  When I think about death now, I do it while looking at this world.  I think of all the death that accompanies what passes for life here and the termination of a body allowing me to push through those revolving doors in self-empowered mode isn’t an issue anymore.  The way I look at it now is, I’m living a free life in sudden death overtime.   

          Here’s how John Donne put it:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Thoughts about Dying (an essay)

 

Thoughts about Dying – from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara

           Yeah, I’ve thought about dying.  In fact, I’ve thought about dying lots of times.  Before I began to think about dying in English, I used to think about dying in French.  Somewhere in between, when I worked with Central American refugees escaping from the White House’s Assassin–in-Chief Ronald Reagan whose CIA contras specialized in capturing, torturing and murdering unarmed Guatemalan native campesinos, I learned a bit of useful Spanish, and then I thought about dying in Spanish.  I learned to sing Guantanamera in Spanish and sang it as close as I could to the original as sung by The Sandpipers, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm1anurhbeg ) then I learned the English translation.  “My words are like a wounded fawn seeking refuge in the forest… Before I die I want to share these words of my soul…” 

          When I was little I thought about dying because I was afraid of it.  I knew, even then, that I was born to die.  I remembered a previous life in which I had died painfully and violently; when I had spent a lot of time in a cold, dank prison, thinking about dying; about how nice it would be to just go to sleep finally one night and never wake up.  When you are being tortured, you think about dying.  Dying is a gift the gods are very reticent to grant you because, I suppose, the gods invented suffering and death and they feel cheated if you arrive at the one without fully experiencing the other.  They get off on man’s pain and suffering, you see.

          I still think about death a lot.  I think of it as the bottomless, endless topic.  But I no longer think of death as an escape from reality.  I’m experienced now, and I remember that death was never an escape.  I learned that whatever I was; whatever I’d become; passed with me through those black doors.  Whatever I was, that was inescapable reality. 

          I cannot escape what I am. So when I think about dying now, I have to remember this simple lesson and prepare myself for death accordingly.  It’s no different than planning a very, very serious trip.  It could even be a journey if I beat the odds this time around and I don’t find myself right back here with only a few months, or years of interim fogginess of mind.  Death is funny that way; it likes you to go through its doors over and over.  Death has a magnificent set of ebony black matte revolving doors and he’s unduly proud of them.  

          How did Death design his doors?  I’ll try to make a long story short.  Think of all the doors of the world designed to keep something, or someone, from escaping.   Think prison doors, and how inventive, clever and imaginative man has been in designing prison doors to create a sense of utter hopelessness behind those doors.  Take every design of every prison door and put that into one set of massive doors.  Pretty impressive.  It’s psychological.  You’re supposed to think; to believe; that when you cross that threshold you’ll never get out again.  So you lose your mind; you go into a coma; you remember nothing when your time’s up and you are set “free” for another round at the wheel.  They wipe your memory so you won’t remember.  The reason is simple: they want you to die all over again as if it was the very first and only time. 

          They want you to live in an inescapable fear of death.  Those who fear death are easily manipulated into unthinkable anti-social acts against anyone they believe can rob them of life.  Fear of death is a belief in serious limitation: one life, then nothing.  Or for a dwindling number, one life then a judgment by a god of terror.  Some choice.  I remember that god of terror.  He was even more frightening than Death because he held those eternal chains that would keep you in a burning hell forever.  I remember doing the math on my chances at an eternity in heaven instead of hell: the odds weren’t good.   And I remember thinking also, how can I be sure that an eternity in heaven with a psychopathic god will be better than one in hell?  I thought, it probably compares to voting Republican or Democrat.  Liberal or Conservative.  The lesser of evils is still evil.

          Then I grew up some.  I learned some tricks on how to access deep memory; the part they can’t wipe out before they send you back.  The data wasn’t great and lots of it is corrupted, but there was enough to construct some memories; to remember.  From delving into those remains of past lives I re-constructed some of them and learned Death’s great secret; that it isn’t an end, nor is it a passage into a pre-determined eternity of bliss or the most terrible of eternal pain.  It was a revolving door and if I came to that door again I could hold some seriously powerful bargaining chips – if I did the work that is.

          So I’ve been thinking about death a whole lot more since the day I exposed its secret.  When I think about death now, I do it while looking at this world.  I think of all the death that accompanies what passes for life here and the termination of a body allowing me to push through those revolving doors in self-empowered mode isn’t an issue anymore.  The way I look at it now is, I’m living a free life in sudden death overtime.   

          Here’s how John Donne put it:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones,
and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

 

Can you tell me when you Died?

[ a short story by Sha’Tara]

(I quietly slipped into the room wearing my white robe with the black trim denoting my profession and position. As always, I was barefoot to indicate my position as servant.

A blond man, slim, tall, rather handsome, was sitting at the glass table. He kept his hands in his lap, so I assumed he could not handle the situation yet, and they’d just fallen through the table top.)
Hello, I’m Haati. I’m here to represent and assist you.  May I have your name, please?

(He raised his head, so I knew he’d heard. But he didn’t face me, so he could not see me.  This might be a long session, I feared.  Some are difficult. His lips moved but no sound came.  I would have to continue with my interrogation until his frustration would force him to use his senses; to wake up. Time for a bit of shock treatment.)

Tell me, when do you think you died, was it today, or yesterday?

(His eyes widened. He moved his head left and right and lifted his right hand.  Again his mouth opened and I watched as he mouthed his reply.  Of course I could “read” him, but that’s not my role.  I’m an awakener and re-mobilizer.  They come to us this way and if they are not dealt with quickly we lose them.  They become zombies.  But then, why am I explaining that to you who have witnessed these therapies dozens of times?)

Can you tell me when you died? Was anyone else with you when it happened?  Do you remember the accident?

(I could see the marks on his changing flesh. And of course I had the report.  A DUI that had gone bad, resulting in a road rage altercation and an exchange of gun fire, my man, the victim.  We get those all the time from this part of that world’s hemisphere.)

Talk to me about your accident. Were you shot?

(He stood up suddenly, raising his arms as if to ward off a blow and moved into the table. He was partly through when he noticed what was happening.   He screamed then.  Not audibly, but I recorded the intent.  Finally something to work with.  I screamed back, audibly, then imitated the sound of an ambulance siren.  He backed out of the table and sat down again, moving his head back and forth, his face pinched as if he had a massive headache.  However, this time his hands stayed on the table.  Progress. I made the sound of a police radio, interrupted conversation with static.  He turned to me, to the source of the sounds.  He was remembering.)

License and registration, please!

(– in my best cop voice imitation. Sometimes I can make this fun.  He began to search his clothes for the documents.  He looked around, presumably to try to locate his vehicle.  Shook his head.  Frustration, confusion, but remembering!)

You remember, don’t you. Can you tell me your name?

Ahhh… An… drew. My name is Andrew.

Good, very good. Do you know where you are?

Ahhh… no, I have no idea where I am. What happened to my car?  What time is it?

You don’t remember what happened to explain why you are ‘here’ and not ‘there’?

There was trouble. A man rear-ended me, yes, that’s it, I remember.  He staggered out of his car and he was drunk.  He had a gun and he started yelling at me, cursing and blaming me for the accident.  Several people tried to calm him down, and the police were called.  I remember the gun pointing at me, and then, something felt strange.  I don’t remember after that.  And now I’m here.  Is this a hospital?

Not exactly, but for now, yes, it’s a hospital to you. Tell me more…

Well, there’s nothing to tell. I’m here, talking to you, whoever you are.  Was I shot?  Yes, I was shot.  In the head!  So how come I’m here talking to you and I don’t feel a thing, and there’s no bandage on my head?  Is this some sort of experimental therapy?  Am I drugged, imagining this conversation?

(He looked at himself, staring for a while at his hands as he flexed his fingers. He had nice hands, not callused – office worker no doubt.  Or maybe even a musician with those long, expressive fingers.  An artist, but not a painter.  Digital art.)

What do you do for a living, Andrew?

I work for a design group. We do art work for ads and create commercial web sites, that sort of thing.  I can’t talk too much about that, corporate secrets and all that, plus I don’t know who you are.

My name is Haati, and I’m what you’d call your legal representative, only I’m somewhat more than that.

You’re a lawyer? Awful young to be a lawyer, if I may say so, you don’t look a day over sixteen years old and you don’t sound any older either.  You’re just a kid.

It’s a matter of perception, Andrew. And I’m much more than a lawyer.  I’m a re-awakener, and an after-death therapist.  I’m a guide.

You’re a what? Sorry, you lost me there.  Or I’m still hallucinating.

No, you’re not hallucinating Andrew. In fact you’re doing surprisingly well, all things considered.

Ok, ummm, Haati, square up with me.  Tell me, in plain talk, who you are, and where I am.

It may be a little soon for the whole truth. Do you notice anything unusual about your surroundings, about yourself, your body?

Enough to feel more than a bit antsy. Didn’t my hands go through that glass table before?

Yes, they did. And you can make them do it again if you’ve a mind to.  Recent awakenings can find it amusing to push their bodies through what appears to be solid objects.  Would you like to take a walk with me, go for a drink?

Sure, I’d love to get out of here, but aren’t you too young to go in a bar, assuming you meant alcoholic drink?

Yes, of course that is what I meant. And no, I’m never “too young” to do anything I choose to do.

Wherever this is, I’m beginning to like it.

(And then he finally deliberately and slowly looked me over. I had switched from my professional gown to a see-through gauzy wrap.  I saw his eyes grow wide as he realized I was wearing nothing more than a gauzy completely translucent material.  Perhaps I should have waited a bit longer, but I love to see the men’s expression when they gawk at my nakedness.  That’s of course part of my treatment: make them feel good; make them experience that most powerful desire, that aphrodisiac, and sex always works with them.  No exceptions yet.)

You’re, uh, you’re gorgeous… but you’re going out in public wearing that?

Oh, I don’t have to. I can take it off if you prefer.  Nude is how I prefer to be.

(Of course I knew what he meant, but I like teasing them to throw them off their old path and into a new one. I have to work relatively fast and this works fast.  I let him stare at my girl form and I could feel what he was feeling.  I smiled to myself – I was doing it again, I was healing him, bringing him into a new reality he’d want to be a part of.  He’d remember, then temporarily forget to plunge into a whole new experience.  Closure would come later.)

Naked? You walk around in public naked?  Is this one of those private centers where they try out all kinds of weird stuff on people to see how they will react?  This can’t be real.  No one walks around in public naked.

We’ll see, won’t we, Andrew. Of course you could join me and take your own clothes off, or I can do it for you if you want me to?  Would you like me to?  Would you like to feel me against you, feel my hands all over you, or have your own hands caress me all over?  It’s what you’d really like, isn’t it?

Well, I don’t imagine that’s too hard to figure out. And you’re OK with that?  I don’t know, I don’t trust this, or you.  You’re too young for that anyway.  Can we go for a walk, and can you at least put your wrap back on?

Sure Andrew, as you wish. (I put my wrap back on and he still stared.  Then I took his hand and walked to the far wall.)

I though we were going out, out.

Yes we are, stay with me. (I began to walk through the wall and had to hold tight to his hand as he tried to pull away.)

Come, come, don’t be afraid. Follow me.

(I dragged him through the wall and out unto a sun-warmed beach. There were some people in the distance and I watched him as he looked around.  I could tell he was still distressed about the wall thing.)

Why don’t you forget about the wall, Andrew? Why don’t you go for a nice swim before we go for that drink?  This is a nude beach, don’t worry about taking your clothes off here.

(And I shed my wrap and walked into the gentle swells until it was deep enough to swim. I dove out of sight to watch what he would do.  He finally undressed and quickly ran into the water.  It was barely to his waist when he threw himself in.  He wasn’t a very good swimmer, and he was looking for me but couldn’t see under water.  I slipped up under him and touched him.  He jumped and I surfaced, laughing, throwing my waist-length hair around and spraying him with it.)

You scared the livin’ shit out of me, girl. I thought it was a shark, dammit!

There are no sharks here, Andrew. In fact, there are no fish in this sea, it’s reserved for therapy.

An entire sea reserved for therapy? (I rolled over to float and he actually did the same.  The high saline content of our waters helps!)

Yes Andrew, it is. You don’t see too many people around but that’s because the place is quite extensive.  We actually do a very brisk business here. Lot’s of patients. This treatment center, if I may call it that for your understanding, is a whole planet.  In size, though it can vary depending on needs, it is currently twice that of what was your planet.

(I thought it time to risk letting him know he was no longer on earth, in case he hadn’t yet figured it out. Some people from earth are a bit slow on the uptake, they are so terribly brainwashed by their power systems and they have such antiquated or foolish ideas about death, or the possibility of life after their bodies die.)

Are you telling me that I’m not on earth? That this is… what… heaven maybe?

Oh no, this isn’t what you would think of as heaven. Are you of those people who believe there’s no life after death, or of those who believe they go to heaven after they die, Andrew?

To tell you the truth… uh… Haati, I never gave it much thought. I figured I had lots of time to think about that and in the end it wouldn’t matter much what I thought about it.  What is, is, isn’t that right?

Ah, actually? No, that’s not right.  What’s right, Andrew, is there is no “what is, is” if you get my drift.  We, all of us, including you, we make it up as we go along.  The sad thing is, so many people are never told that so they let others make the decisions for them.  And, well, that’s where I come in, you see?

(We were now walking on the beach again. He stopped for a while, looking over the sea, frowning, deep in thought.)

I was shot in the head.  I died.  I really died!  That’s why I’m here.  I’m dead.  Gone.  Back there no one can know that I’m here now, still aware, still alive, still thinking about them and wondering what they’re thinking about me.  They know I’m dead, don’t they, Haati.  Dead.  Does that mean that all this is just an illusion?

(There was a deep sadness in his thoughts.  I could feel his total sense of loss.   This is the tricky part; this is where I specialize: in taking them through the final transition.  Some just can’t or won’t.  This is especially true of those who consider themselves atheists and those who are deeply religious.  This place, me, what I am, what I do, they aren’t prepared for that and they can’t integrate it with their own beliefs.  But Andrew would be easier: he had only vestigial beliefs,  nothing solid, nothing definite.  Almost an open mind.  Yes, it would be easier to heal him.)

No Andrew, what you left is the illusion. This represents, for you, a deepening reality.  This is a new dimension.  For you, this is but another beginning of a very long journey – an endless journey.

Now?

Oh no, not “now” now! I’m not done with you by a long shot as they would say on your world.  We have a bit of journeying to do together before you leave here, but don’t worry about that.  When the time comes, you’ll know and you’ll be so eager to get going, nothing will hold you back.  Meanwhile, there’s me, and I’m willing, and waiting, to be explored.  Ready for that drink now?  Clothing optional, remember.

(I gave him my most open and guileless of smiles and he smiled back. We were on the way.  By the way, I find naked earth men astonishingly attractive.  That drink is going to taste very good.)