Sex, Intimacy and Exclusivity in the Afterlife
Gary's eyes were large, way too large. As he awakened from surgery they appeared to be swollen, waterlogged marbles about to burst open. Around the two of us the recovery room was sparse and barren. Standing beside the gurney, I waited for him to become coherent, longing for him to be okay, to recover fully. A day earlier the doctor had said there was no chance of that. I knew better. He would get well. He would. My belief would make it so.
As the cold December day slipped into darkness, he was moved to the Hospice Unit at St. Vincent's. Once he regained consciousness his family came to say goodbye and returned home. The pain from the pancreatic cancer was nearly intolerable. The tumor had strangled his liver. The staff increased the morphine drip. Antsy, distraught and caught up in anticipatory grief, I slouched uncomfortably on the chair beside the bed, alone with the man I loved. Alone.
At 9:50 a.m. on December 9, 1988 he slipped out of his coma. "I love you, and God loves you," I said. "I'm glad. Me too, you, " he whispered and closed his eyes for the last time. The monitor went off. The nurse came in and pronounced his time of death.
Two and a half years earlier when we found each other, he had said, "Teach me to have fun." He spent his life as the consummate business man who drank to take the edge off. It destroyed his pancreas. The choices he made early in his life robbed him, robbed us of the chance to be together. He was only forty-five. With his passing the future we had planned dissolved on the floor of my soul.
I couldn't bear it. Giant hands plunged into my chest, grabbed hold of my heart and ripped it out. Broken veins and arteries dangled down into the bloody cavity. Corrosive acid replaced it. In the aftermath I had to build myself an entirely new heart, from nothing. I did not want to do that. I wanted to go with him, to be with him.
That was it. That was all that was important to me. If there was an afterlife, given the longevity in my family, I was sentenced to a minimum of forty years without him, as well as my other deceased loved ones. Caught in the despair which was now part of my soul, I pondered what it would be like to see him and them again. Once I passed, would they show up all at once? After Aunt Lottie died at age ninety-seven I had a vision of her. She stopped in briefly to say goodbye. "They" were having a party for her, she said. A party. It was a nice thought.
What about you? Have you ever considered who you'd run into first, once you die? If reincarnation is true, what if all the lovers you've ever known from all lifetimes greet you and want to spend the rest of forever exclusively with you? Dirty old feet, as my dad, who didn't swear, used to say.
What if during the last life you had spent with someone, you were male, but as you left your latest life, you were female? Maybe within your inner being you identify more intimately with one sexual identity than the other. You might prefer being female and the characteristics which are usually part of that identity. Even so, the above mentioned someone might relate to you better if you were male. It is possible that since your last lifetime together, you both could have grown in different directions and lost the closeness you once shared. For me, that would be distressing.
You might attempt to overcome this distress through rationalization. You and the others might be more mature now, could see with greater clarity and be able to adjust for the variables. It's also possible you might long to be with one person more than the others, but you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. What would you do then?
As I see it, one of our options during multiple lives is to learn and grow. This lifetime myriad awful things have happen to me. I've chosen to learn from each one. Other alternatives included drugging up, burying myself in illusions or finding a belief system which removed the need for thinking and cocooning myself within it. However, at this point in my life those alternatives are unacceptable to me. They would mute the best of who I am, and I like myself. I've worked hard to get here.
Others I know chose different options. One cousin decided to drug up on prescription mind-altering medications and nailed herself inside an airless, windowless religious box. If it made her happy or content, that could work. It hasn't. She is living, like Thoreau mentioned, a life of quiet desperation and wondering why. I remember when she was a was happy child, a time when we were giggly little girls together. These days when I think of who she has become, I am saddened. She has no doubt that I am destined for hell, because I deviated from the way we were raised.
As I enter the reality which exists after the death of my physical body, I have wondered what will be possible. Plausibly, someone I loved dearly remained stagnant or regressed rather than grew while we were apart. I certainly would not tell him or her to be born into another life and grow up, so we could be good together again. I would not want to be guilty of judgmentalism, nor would I want to hurt him. Plus, he might flip me off.
There's also the issue of intimacy, not just spiritually and interpersonally, but what some call getting physical. Some believe once we leave this realm there will be no more sex. I'm not so sure. If I am to believe what one of my spiritual teachers once told me, then sex is possible. She said, "As above, so below." I'm sure she was not talking about sex, but why not? I really don't think our spirits will be just a bunch of vapor floating in the ethers. We will probably inhabit some kind of vessel.
People who found sex repugnant or unsatisfying could be relieved that no more would be required of them. They might seek higher, more mystical and/or intellectual orgasms. Others have experienced physical unions which fused their spirits with their partner's, a oneness beyond words or understanding. Why would they want to give that up?
These were the issues I considered when I wrote Final Entry, the third book in The Mater's Series. By then two of the men I loved intimately had passed on to the next realm. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and my sister were also deceased. Several of my dearest friends had died. I wondered how I would feel when I saw them again, what the reunions would be like and in what kind of reality I would find myself. To explore these tantalizing possibilities I crafted this work of literary visionary fiction.
Final Entry unearths the dilemma of Savannah Thrush. At the end of a long life as she enters The Great In-between she discovers not only is there still sex, but it's the hottest and most tender she's ever experienced. It is not with just one past lover, but all her greatest loves. During her latest Earth life she was true to each one. Each died before she did. In the afterlife her relationships with them are at times simultaneous. Time misbehaves in that reality. Therein lies the crux. Her intimate reunions are fraught with moral dilemmas, physical improbabilities and decisions she has no idea how to make. With the guidance of Tater's Maters, her goofy, self-appointed angels including a deceased madame, she becomes even more conflicted, prompting her to sort out the nature of love and reality as it applies to herself.
I found writing this novel stimulating, illuminating and liberating. I prompt you to consider how it might unfold for you and urge you to engage in the spiritual, emotional and mental gymnastics this experience can provide. At the least you might find it entertaining. At the most it could set you free to be all you can be in the here as well as the now.''
Book Cover - I painted and designed it myself:
Here is the link to the book at my publishers website:
The work is part of a series.
My other works are listed on the publisher's site as well as on my website. Some of them are free.