After death our bodies may be resurrected. Our souls may transmigrate or become part of the heavenly pleroma. We may join our loved ones in heaven. Or we may return the constituent parts of our being to the earth from which it came and rest in eternal peace. About life after death, no one knows. But about this we surely know: there is love after death. Not only do our finest actions invest life with meaning and purpose, but they also live on after us. Two centuries from now, the last tracings of our being will yet express themselves in little works of love that follow bead by bead in a luminous catena extending from our dear ones out into their world and then on into the next, strung by our own loving hands.
Death is love’s measure. Not only is our grief when someone dies testimony to our love, but when we ourselves die, the love we have given to others is the one thing death can’t kill. Only our unspent love dies when we die, love unspent because of fear. It is fear that locks love in the prison of our hearts, there to be buried with us.
— Forrest Church in Love & Death: My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow (emphasis mine)
Whew. This man, a UU minister dying of cancer, has captured in much more grandiose words than I have yet to muster, a spiritual conviction I’ve felt in my heart for much longer than I’ve been a widow. As a widow, I hold these words close to my heart even more tightly. This is what I believe.
It actually reminds me of the end of the biography about DeForest Kelley called From Sawdust to Stardust: The Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy. He had a very deep romance with his wife, Carolyn. After he died of cancer in 1999, his wife returned to their home and found an embroidered pillow which he’d left for her that read, “Real love stories never have endings.”
I cried my eyes out when I read the final pages of that book. And I knew what drew me to Dr. McCoy: the man behind the character had the heart of an incurable romantic. I never met him, but I understood him. It was how I felt about my husband, even if he never had time to leave me such a message.
I thank God every day that one of the last things I ever said to Mike was that I loved him. It was the last thing I said to my grandma H. too. Don’t let your fears of loss prevent you from feeling love or expressing it to the people you love every day. Without love, we are nothing but animals.