Companions On The Journey
When I call to mind the good companions who once shared my journey, the pain of their loss returns. I feel like crying. Yet, in a strange way, they seem to help me move along my way and we walk together.”
Rabbi Chaim Stern
My wife Kathleen passed almost eight years ago, but she is with me still. I don’t think of her all the time but at certain times, I feel her presence and know that she is still with me on my journey.
I have shared my experience with others who have lost a spouse or child or parent and there is instant recognition in their eyes. “I know exactly what you mean,” a woman friend told me. “It’s not that I obsess over my late sweetheart. I have mourned his loss but I am fully engaged now in living my life.” She paused before contining. “It’s just that, I feel him with me sometimes. It’s kind of eerie but also comforting. “
When we lose a loved one, we can’t help wondering. Is she still alive somehow? Does her soul rise from the ashes of death to live another life? Is she or he “up there and looking down on us?”
My own Christian religion has no doubt about an after life. Resurrection from the dead is one of the basic dogmas of our belief system. Yet, I believe that even without the reassurance of religion, I would hold on to a conviction that the spirit in us remains alive.
The cynics will say, “Nonsense, when you are dead, you’re dead. End of story. I don’t agree. We may bury the bodies of our loved ones but their spirit remains. It’s the soul within us that puts a sparkle in our eyes and a spring in our step. It’s the spirit within that reveals who we are.
That same human soul that can dream dreams, and yearn for peace and compose songs and poems that can move the world, that soul capable of giving his life for another person or for a nation, is that soul dead? I don’t think so. The human spirit is as eternal as love and faith and beauty.
I know my wife is present on my journey because, as the Rabbi says, and I know, we walk together. She is with me just as surely as your parents or spouse or children are with you.