Anne Geraghty was a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist when her son, Tim Guest, author of My Life in Orange died suddenly. Her old life ended. She went on a search for her lost son. Where was he? What was he? Did he live on in some other realm? Or had he fallen into the darkness of oblivion? Her search for Tim became an exploration into the nature of death itself.
What happens when we die? Do we have one and only one life or are we reincarnated thousands of times? Does our spirit live on in paradise or only in the hearts and minds of those who loved us? Do our souls exist forever in another dimension or is death an absolute ending and we no longer exist?
We might try to work out what belief or idea about death is the right one, what is the ‘truth’, but there can be no objective answers to such questions because what is being addressed is a person not an event. Not only that; death, like life, has many dimensions. Some of the dimensions of death belong to our human world, aspects of the continual evolution of life on Earth. Other dimensions belong to the cosmos in a different way, elements of a mystery so vast we can never comprehend it. Reality is always greater than our ideas about it anyway. And whatever may be our beliefs about death, we will have direct experience of it one day.
Yet even though death is the one certainty in life, we tend not to think much about it. We focus more on creating a home, raising our families, making a living and enjoying ourselves than we do on the inevitability of our death. Naturally. We hardly want to ponder that this life will end while in the middle of making it. Yet sometimes we are brought face to face with death in a way that cannot be avoided.
My son, Tim, died suddenly at the age of thirty-four. After years of hard partying he had been off alcohol and drugs for six months because he and his wife were planning a family. That night, as he had done at many parties before, he drank and took a cocktail of drugs, but this time his tolerance was gone. He went to sleep and never woke up.
Tim was my only child; his death became a journey into death for me too. Yet even in the unspeakable pain of my grief I found dimensions of our relationship continued to unfold. Death is an absolute ending; it also holds a mysterious continuity.
During the first year of Tim’s death, I experienced many inexplicable phenomena and had a series of vivid dreams in which my relationship with Tim continued, as I now know it always will. Not only because we loved each other deeply and that love is
forever, but because I discovered there are as many realities and dimensions to death as there are to life, and many of the energies of life and death are eternal. Life on Earth creates realities and energies that do not simply disappear when we die; on the contrary, these become part of the fabric of existence. And although the death of someone we love is an inconsolable loss because that person is gone forever, there are discoveries in death that can nourish and sustain us in a different way.
My experiences of Tim’s death did not conform to anything I had heard or read about death before. And anyway I could not accept unquestioningly the descriptions of life after death given by various religions. I therefore had to find my own way through the labyrinth. This book is my attempt to share some of what I learned.
Death, the Last God explores not only the many dimensions of death but also how different aspects of our human psyche describe and experience death differently. It examines various psycho-spiritual and cultural maps of what happens when we die to develop a modern understanding of death. And it explains how the language of Myth, which is about human truth and meaning, and Logos, which is concerned with empirical facts, use different languages to speak of the same event. We need this diversity.
Anne worked as a Clinical Psychologist and worked with RD Laing. She went to the first Women's Liberation conference in Oxford in 1970 and wrote for the original Spare Rib. Many adventures later she began to look beyond the personal and the political for more spiritual understanding and travelled to India. There she met Osho and became his disciple. She ran workshops and courses all over the world on love, relationships and family dynamics and was director of Medina Rajneesh Healing Centre. She then set up and was director of the Amap Centre in London where, with a team of therapists, she ran Diploma Courses in Counselling, Group Dynamics and Psychodrama. She has written several books on love and the psycho-spiritual journey. All seemed fine and then her son, Tim Guest died suddenly in 2009. He was the author of several best sellers including a memoir of his childhood - My Life In Orange. Her old life died. She now lives with her husband and spiritual comrade of 35 years on a market garden with their bees, hens and dogs and runs courses on love and death.
Death, the Last God is being published by O Books 28th November 2014. ISBN: 978-1-78279-709-8 (Paperback) £12.99 $22.95, EISBN: 978-1-78279-708-1 (eBook) £6.99 $9.99.
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