Today is the day that I died in 1905.
The picture to the left was me during the Civil War.
One might think that being aware of the exact day and circumstances of a previous death would somehow be mentally damaging or emotionally upsetting. Really, though, it never bothered me, even when I was in utter and total denial that reincarnation is a true facet of the universe. Death is the easy part of life. Yes, the process of dying can be painful and frightening but the pain and fear is only temporary. Going through eighty years of living was much harder for me than the last three months of illness that delivered me into the afterlife. I have little to no recollection at all of the last ten or fifteen years of that life anyhow, so I feel no emotional bond to my elderly years. When I experience feelings of longing for that life in Maine, it’s the people with whom I shared that life that I long to see again. I long for the roots and the sense of home that I had at that time too. I don’t have a sense of permanency in this life that I had back then.
Do I miss Fanny’s body? Not really. My chest was too big, my nose was too big, I had migraines, poor vision, too many aches and pains, etc. Once I’m done with a body, I have no desire to use it again. My belief system dictates that a body is like a change of clothes for the soul and once your soul outgrows that set of clothes, it’s time to discard it and move on to something new. In true transcendentalist fashion, it’s the insight and experience gained through myself that I carry with me, as well as the love I still feel for the souls in my soul group, whether they are presently incarnated or in spirit. I used to feel such an attachment to that life in particular because it was one of my longest, if not the longest, and I invested the most time and energy into the relationships developed at that time. Many of those relationships have continued and evolved in this present life. Some have faded away, having offered all of the lessons we could for each other. It’s okay to let go if your soul tells you to let go of people, habits or events. There are new experiences and relationships on the horizon.
Today I look back fondly on the good parts of my life as Fanny Chamberlain. I think of the good times with a quiet smile, knowing that no one else on earth understands the things I saw and felt back then. True, people can try and pick apart my various relationships, why I did this, why I thought that, and it has taken me years to make peace with the fact that people are going to misinterpret my life because they weren’t there. They didn’t go through it. I did. I have become a little more forgiving of historical misinterpretations. Above all, I look back on my life as Fanny and see his face. Love is truly what matters in the end. Fussing over the small day-to-day details is not going to matter when your last day comes. It’s the good you create in your life, the mark you leave behind, and the love you create.
You in my soul I see, faithful watcher by my cot-side long days and nights together through the delirium of mortal anquish, -steadfast, calm and sweet as eternal love. We pass now quickly from each other’s sight; but I know full well that where beyond these passing scenes you shall be, there will be Heaven. -Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, written to Fanny after her death.