Right before my sister’s body convulsed in the terrible grip of death, I received a gift from her learning-challenged son. He had been with me at her hospice bedside saying goodbye. After asking his mother to say hello to Elvis for him in heaven (which even garnered a wisp of a smile from her solemn, sedated face), he gave me his mother’s hand and said, “She’s gone. God took her with Him. Couldn’t you feel God here in the room?”
His confidence that she was no longer in that body has saved me from reliving the strange savagery of her end…over and over again.
I was reminded of this mystery of our souls’ departure by Temple Grandin’s story of Autism and her sensitivity to the death of animals. When the body of a euthanized horse collapsed, limp and empty, she asked about the spirit, “Where did it go?”
Also in Elizabeth J. Church’s words about the heroin’s father’s death in The Atomic Weight of Love: “Where did all of that energy go? What happened to the bounty of his being, his love for us, for me?”
It’s an important observance and question. Those who see a bit differently often see more than the rest of us.