The following is the elegy I delivered at my sister, Angela’s funeral this year. It’s not original. I lifted a lot of the ideas from all those grumpy web sites I’m always reading.
Is there a Soul? Is there a heaven?
I don’t know if there is a soul. I don’t think what is essentially us leaves our bodies when we die. I think that what is essentially us leaves our body at all times - while we are still alive. It’s always radiating out, into the universe, every time we interact with other people. It’s like raindrops in a pond - the ripples we make spread out in all directions and affect all the other drops, made by all the other people around us. These make little waves that come back and lap up against us, and those in turn are changed again by more of our ripples, and on and on. This is an old idea, call it karma. Call it the interconnectedness of all things. Call it, just being nice.
I think the world is one giant soul-soup, in which we all make big and small ripples, and all the flavors melt together. What I say shapes you, what you say shapes me. When I remember something my sister said or did, or if some action she took or some kindness, changed me, made me think about what I was doing, then that was my sister’s wave, her soul, having its effect.
religion might have it backwards. I think, maybe, your soul doesn’t leave your body at the moment of your death. I think, maybe, it stops leaving your body, and begins existing as only an echo in the lives of others.
So, is there a soul? I don’t know.
Is there a heaven? Yes.
I definitely think so. There is a heaven, right here, in our minds and in our hearts, bouncing and reflecting in us, and through us, all those ripples and waves of all the people we have ever met, all the people we have ever loved. We radiate back out, to the world, everything that our loved ones ever were. Though our actions and through our deeds we, all of us, are the pond in which the raindrops fall. We, all of us, are forever, the heaven in which our loved ones now reside.