If I had asked myself the question 'is there an Afterlife?' Three months ago, I would most definitely have said no. No being in me believed that there is some sort of heaven, paradise or even soul pit where you go after you die. This opinion was challenged at the beginning of the year when my father suddenly passed away.
My thoughts after frequently turned to death and the thought of an Afterlife. I would have to constantly remind myself that it was possible that my mind was doing all it could to fill the void and just the mere thought that my father was still around was comforting, yet hopeless.
I was raised as an atheist. My father taught me to enjoy the life you were given and do your best to live as if it was your last day alive. He never promised me afterlife or not but guaranteed me that nothing could be proven and that those individuals who live their life just in hopes of walking through the golden gates to heaven are never truly living.
I did believe this. I still, kind of, believe this. However, it does sadden me to think we live in a world where we spend years upon years praying for future success and happiness and then one day, all of that praying stops and you are nothing. Nothing but a legacy that you will never see played out.
It was only a week after my father's passing when I stood at my toilet peeing. The light above me started to flicker. Instantly I thought it could be my father trying to send me a sign. I stopped peeing and talked to the light. 'Dad, flicker one more time if you are there.' The light remained still and my heart sunk into my chest like an anchor in the deep blue sea.
I had given up hope searching for signs of my father. I knew what I had always believed to be true was true. He was gone and that would be the end of it. This was until I took a trip away.
I had decided to take a break from work and travel to Zurich, Switzerland to visit a good friend of mine. The first night I arrived, he picked me up and dragged me straight to the casino. I had never played in a casino before but I had money to spend and was doing my best to live life spontaneously.
Before I arrived, I remembered a story that my father's best friend had told me at the funeral. When my father was my age, he had convinced his buddies to book a trip to Columbia for a weekend away. When they arrived, they also went straight to the casino in hopes of finding drugs, money and women. My father's best friend had been standing outside smoking a joint when he heard the locals screaming 'Senior Ventiseis.' He looked over his shoulder only to see my father in the middle of the crowd with chips flowing from his pockets. Apparently, he had won big on the roulette table with number 26 and was now a local celebrity. Since then, he has always been known to his friends as Senior Ventiseis!
I knew, out of respect, that I had to go straight to the roulette table and put money on 26. Lost money, I thought but I thought it would be fitting that my first ever gamble at a casino was on 26. The wheel span and I prepared to wave goodbye to that money forever. As the balls jumped from number to number, it finally found its home on number 26. It was at that moment, I knew that he was present.
Of course, the chances of landing on 26 are only 1/36 which aren't too high of odds. However, the feeling I felt and the joy within me was enough to convince me that my father's soul was engulfed within me. I don't think he is here and I don't believe he is in a paradise watching down on me. However, I do believe that he is within my heart and the lessons he has taught me and the life he once lead will soon be mine.
Death is not an easy thing and grief is the most painful life lesson I have ever gone through. Whether he is around or it's only a mechanism for overcoming his loss, I am happy to know that I can take his title as Senior Ventiseis and that I had a few extra hundred quid in my pocket.