This is difficult. My first thought is that I have not got one. A thought, I mean. On this subject at least I have a paradox - I have no thoughts at all, and I have nothing but thoughts. Perhaps it is not Thoughts of which I have none, it is Conclusions. Maybe that is not right either, I have conclusions. I think what I have not got is An Answer.
Before Steve died, I accepted that there was a God. I thought that there was probably a parallel universe of angels and God-ness, and that I had access to it. It made sense that there was a greater plan and all of us were loved by A God Like Thing, and love really did make the world go round. Secretly I thought that God could talk to us and communicate with us; it was exciting working out how it would happen and whether positive coincidences were God at work or just happy accidents. I tended to believe the God At Work theory. My life had not been too difficult to cope with, I had not really been tested and dreadful things had not happened to me. Not really.
I had a wonderful comfortable and vague feeling that I was on the right path, miracles could happen, that we had huge untapped potential in our brains, consiousness and The Mind were the answer to most things. I think what I had was an untested leaning towards the intellectual, the fuzzy and the comforting. This is fine, it worked. There was no reason to be otherwise and there was no obvious challenge to make me change my mind. I really did feel I had a spiritual understanding and a link with the Divine.
When Steve first told me that a shadow had appeared on his liver I knew at once what it was. I came into my studio to be on my own and screamed and cried and could not find any way to lessen the anguish. On the internet I saw that he had about 3 months to live. I simply could not understand why Steve should have anything that made our happiness impossible. What on earth was this thing that was going to happen but couldn't really because I knew Steve and we loved each other and so we were immune to things that we couldn't control. I could touch Steve, I could look into his eyes and he mine, he was alive and so having this thing I knew was cancer was simply impossible. Steve would manage we would find out it was a mistake and somehow Steve would be with me for ever. We had a house to build. We had stuff to do, it was all very impossible.
I saw Steve shrivel and contract and fade before my eyes over the next few months. He would not accept his prognosis and so I didn't either. Unless I was on my own and then I knew it was not going to work. His body became diseased and emaciated. His eyes and skin turned yellow. He found it hard to think clearly and he could not stop sleeping. I watched this happen to a fellow human being, not just any fellow human being but Steve for goodness sake. It made no sense.
He couldn't eat. He couldn't walk. He was incontinent. He couldn't lift his skinny arms and head. His feet hurt him, his stomach hurt him, his stomach and ankles swelled. He was jaundiced and exhausted. He couldn't think straight. He used to go out fishing, he could build extensions, he could make working model aeroplanes, he could cook and he was very funny. All that potential to be the old Steve again was still here, in this wasted creature on my sofa in the sitting room.
Back to God. God sat with us in the hospice for the last week and made Steve comfortable. God showed me that to die was part of life and just one of those things. God also showed me that death is as much a miracle as life and that the two compliment each other with more power and awe than the human mind can cope with. I had the total absence of hope in watching Steve die. But Steve was also beyond me and beyond my limited experience. He was doing something so raw and incomprehensible that I was left far far behind. God had two jobs to do. To let this physical thing called cancer eat away Steve's lovely human body and let it run its course. And to allow me to watch and glimpse a process so alien to me and so much bigger than me that I could only admire it. So this is where God, if there is a God, was. God was in the process of relieving Steve of his physical body while the breath still breathed from it in spite of the disease. God was the force that made Steve not die sooner, God was there too when Steve eventually stopped breathing and stopped being alive. I can't describe the relief and anguish of watching the stillness and nothingness that was Steve once he had died.
Now, I think there is a God Like Thing somewhere. The miracle of death makes me think that it is too big for life to be just be nothing. I knew Steve, it was not as if the life that ended was an abstract thing belonging to someone else. I knew the man, he was my partner, and it happened to him. If he could have done so, he would have told me all about it. But he couldn't because he was dead and that was just ridiculous.
I am aware of my life now. I am not, at the moment, afraid to die. I think that there is an after life. I think that the word "Life" probably doesn't even come close to describe what happens to us after we die. My big question at the moment is "Where Did He Go?". I don't know.
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