Recently another blogger wrote something which really struck a chord with me. She said that she found it hard to visit her daughter’s grave without imagining what her daughter must look like now, buried in the ground, decomposing. I think that if we’re honest this is something that we all struggle with when we lose a loved one.
Shortly after Lentil died Paul and I were catching up on an episode of Dr Who, the episode involved zombies and I had to turn it off. I haven’t watched Dr Who since, just in case. I’ve never been a fan of horror, zombies etc but since Lentil died I just can’t bear things like that.
I think that it is perfectly natural although usually completely unwelcome to have thoughts about what happens to a body after death. You miss the physical presence of a person and so your mind will go to those dark places, thinking about where they physically are now and even what they might look like.
After Lentil died I remember having a conversation with Paul about feeling relief at Lentil being buried. I hated the thought of him lying in a cold, sterile fridge, all alone. To begin with when we visited Lentil’s grave I didn’t feel the way I wanted to, I found it hard to keep my mind from the horrible thoughts that kept creeping in.
Recently though I’ve started to feel more at peace with the natural process that’s going on beneath the ground. Paul often says ‘shall we go and see Lentil?’ when he’s thinking of visiting the grave and I used to find this so hard. I wanted to shout ‘we can’t see him, he’s under the ground, decomposing’. Thoughts of what he would look like if we could see him jumped into my head. I would swallow back the tears and nod at Paul, never telling him how much his wording upset me. Suddenly now though I feel like it’s OK.
I’m a scientist, an optimist and a romantic. Yes, Lentil will not look the same now as he did when we buried him. His beautiful little body will have changed completely. But as each part of his body breaks down the molecules go on to make something new. I can literally see him all around.
The water that was in his little body is now part of the water cycle, I see him in the morning dew, the drizzle, the pouring rain, the winter frost and every rainbow that fills the sky.
The bacteria in the soil is doing it’s job, breaking down the microscopic building blocks that physically made Lentil. He will always be part of Paul, J and I and others who love him but he will also always be part of the world. Once the molecules that make us were stars and one day they will be again.