I guess when something inconceivable happens, the natural response is to try to puzzle it all out - every single aspect of it. To figure out why it happened. To figure out what happens now. To find solace in whatever you can, no matter how small.
So that's what we've been doing, my beloved and I.
After Thomas died we didn't talk all that much about the afterlife. We have different beliefs about what happens when you die, and I think maybe I was too afraid to find out if Thomas' death had changed his views or not. I didn't want to know that he felt Thomas just disappeared - that his light was turned out and he vanished.
So I didn't ask. I guess I couldn't - not back then.
But now it's different. I want to know what he thinks. No matter what I might be thinking about God right now, I still believe in heaven and I believe my son is there. I know that as sure as I know that I'm here, that my hair is brown and that I love chocolate. I know those things, and I know Thomas is in heaven. I will always know that.
But the other night when we were out walking My Beloved made some really interesting comments that have me thinking about the afterlife in a whole new way. A way that gives me the additional comfort I'm needing right now.
He said that atoms, by nature, cannot be destroyed. So since we're made up of atoms, technically we never die. Our atoms remain and become, we suppose, part of something else - part of the physical world we once lived in.
To me this adds another dimension to the afterlife. I believe Thomas' soul - his non-corporeal person - is what exists in heavenly form, but to think that the atoms that made up his human essence - that beautiful and perfect little body I sheltered for 9 wonderful months - are still part of my world is unbelievably reassuring.
He still is, in memory, in spirit and, as crazy as it sounds, in atomic form.
Then we started talking about what happens to the electricity in our bodies when they die. Where does it go? Does that too go back into the atmosphere - back into the world where earthly life as we know it still thrives, even though the machine of our bodies comes to a halt?
Could there be a little bit of Thomas' electrical energy floating through the atmosphere? Is he still here in that form too?
Am I just grasping at straws? Perhaps, but straws are all I've got right now and I'm hanging on for dear life.
I can't help but shake my head at the absurdity of it all - the fact that My Beloved and I even had this kind of strange, sad conversation one cold February night is still mind-boggling. And yet I'll continue to delve as far into science as I have to, to help me ease the pain.
At first I didn't want to know how differently My Beloved and I thought about what happens when the lights go out, but now I'm so grateful that we are so different. I don't know how much comfort my steadfast belief in our son's spiritual existence has brought My Beloved, but his scientific reasonings have given me more comfort than I ever dreamed possible.
And that, I suppose, is the best possible argument for marrying your opposite. Who knew a philosophical talk on a cold winter night could bring me so much lasting warmth?