Whew! Finally, I’m wrapping up this series of things I’ve been doing to get me through the grief. It’s been a steep learning curve for sure and some of my coping mechanisms may be less than healthy in the short term, but they are what they are. When you’ve lost a limb you put on a tourniquet, you worry about circulation later.
I saved the biggest one for last. Reprogramming. We all have a baseline default program that we have developed over the course of our lives. It’s based on genetics, the events that have happened to us, teachings from our parents/church/political party, etc. As long as the program is serving us well, we don’t question it. Heck, we don’t even think about it. We just go along with our preconceived notions and that’s fine, as long as they’re working.
For me, losing Shayna required a whole new mindset to be able to cope. I literally could not go on with the way I was going. Near Death Experiencers often have long term effects after their experiences. One is a different view of the world, another is a unquenchable thirst for knowledge. This is what has happened to me. I needed a total reset on what the purpose of life is, the nature of reality- you know the little stuff. Thankfully I live in an age where that be fulfilled fairly easily.
My first resource was PodCasts. I have found several PodCasts that explore the nature of reality mostly from a scientific perspective. It’s good that my Christian background taught me that I have a soul and that my soul will go on, someday, to be resurrected and fly away to this far off place called Heaven. But, it’s so much better to know from experience (even though not my own yet), that I am a spiritual being and that I will never actually die. It’s good to know that science is actually catching up with faith and all of this “woo-woo” stuff being claimed by religions for thousands of years is now the stuff of solid scientific theories being researched by serious people. It’s not just Christians and Muslims who believe in the afterlife. People who are atheists are believing not because of faith in ancient writings, but because of the data.
After PodCasts there have been books- tons and tons of books on my Kindle. I buy them faster than I can read them. I have a backlog of about 10 right now.
A friend of mine (thanks Ned, if you’re reading this) made an observation the other day that I found to be profound. He was talking about why he is interested in spirituality and why he tries to spread the word. The materialists of our time say that when we die we simply cease to exist. We are our bodies. When the brain shuts off, it’s like turning off the lights. Christians will tell us we have a soul that will someday be resurrected, judged and sent eternally to bliss or torment. Neither is a satisfactory answer for people like us. We need to look at the data and draw our conclusions from that. And, frankly, for me, I need some hope to keep me going. If I believed the materialist point of view, I couldn’t keep on doing this.
Tomorrow night Ty and I are driving two hours to meet with a group of parents whose children have transitioned, but their belief is that our children never leave us. It’ll be our first meeting with this group and they don’t have a chapter in Cincinnati yet. Reprogramming isn’t easy. Rebooting is exhausting. And swimming against the tide is like- well, swimming against the tide. Fortunately, I have found resources and like-minded people who are making the swim with me.