Afterlife

Last night was one of those life changing moments, that you as an individual will cherish and ponder on for the rest of your life. It was the opportunity that I and some close friends came together to celebrate the life of a friend of ours named Eli Buxton

Eli lost his battle with cancer at the young age of 23. He was diagnosed a year and a half ago with testicular cancer, and had to go through multiple rounds of treatment to try and stop its aggressive growth. He won this fight the first time, but sadly when the cancer came back, it came back with a vengeance and he unfortunately unable to stop it. Through it all he kept a positive outlook and was diligent in completing his album and touching the lives of all he interacted with, including me.

His funeral was the best one I have been to in my entire life, and it was one of tears, laughter, pain and joy. He wanted it to be a celebration of his life, and I feel the time and care put towards it by his family was perfect. It exemplified Eli more than I had realized at first, and seeing all of the diverse people within the hundreds that attended brought a smile to my face. He was able to connect with so many and didn’t judge a person on their looks or lifestyle. He took the time to connect and reach out to everyone and it is a trait I hope to be able to copy in my own life.

I titled this post “Afterlife” for a reason. After I had heard the news on Facebook of Eli’s passing a song by one of my favorite bands, Arcade Fire, kept popping up in my music que. I’d hear it at work, and in the car as I have been going about my errands and day to day life. The music is orchestrated so beautifully, but more-so the lyrics have impacted me now more than they ever had before. I am not always so eloquent with my words, and don’t consider myself a playwright or poet so I’ll just let Win Butler take the microphone for a moment:

Afterlife Lyrics

Afterlife, oh my God, what an awful word

After all the breath and the dirt
And the fires that burn
And after all this time
And after all the ambulances go
And after all the hangers-on are done
Hanging on to the dead lights
Of the afterglow

I’ve gotta know

Can we work it out?
We scream and shout ’till we work it out
Can we just work it out?
Scream and shout ’till we work it out?

‘Till we work it out, ’till we work it out
‘Till we work it out, ’till we work it out

Afterlife, I think I saw what happens next
It was just a glimpse of you
Like looking through a window
Or a shallow sea
Could you see me?

And after all this time
It’s like nothing else we used to know
After all the hangers-on are done
Hanging on to the dead lights
Of the afterglow

I’ve gotta know

Can we work it out?
Let’s scream and shout ’till we work it out
Can we just work it out? If you scream and shout ’till we work it out?
But you say
Oh, when love is gone
Where does it go?
And you say
Oh, when love is gone
Where does it go?

And where do we go?
Where do we go?
Where do we go?
Where do we go?
Where do we go?
Where do we go?
Where do we go?
Where do we go?

And after this Can it last another night?
After all the bad advice
Had nothing at all to do with life

I’ve gotta know
Can we work it out?
Scream and shout ’till we work it out?
Can we just work it out?
Scream and shout ’till we work it out?
But you say
Oh, when love is gone
Where does it go?
And you say
Oh, when love is gone
Where does it go?
Oh, we know it’s gone
Where did it go?
Oh, we know it’s gone
Where did it go?
And where do we go?

Is this the afterlife?
It’s just an afterlife, with you
It’s just an afterlife
It’s just an afterlife, with you
It’s just an afterlife

[collapse]

When the first line starts the thoughts begin flooding into my mind.
“Afterlife, oh my god, what an awful word.”
So many of us wonder, “What happens after this life?” It has spawned countless Religions, Deities, Gods and belief systems. All dive into this question. We have yet to find the answer.
Will our actions now affect us after we have passed on. Is there some type of existence or dimension? Some part of that our consciousness, spirit, whatever you want to call it goes? Will we be held accountable for those small mistakes as much as the larger ones? Will none of it matter at all and we just cease to exist? Will I be able to spend it with those that I love, and be able to see those that have left before me again?

“Afterlife, oh my god, what an awful word.”

Eli I know had pondered the thought and question of life after this a lot. I felt it in the music and lyrics that he wrote, and in our conversations we talked about it all many times. But what I appreciated and saw even more last night was his love and concern for the now.

He would take the time to talk to anyone. To hear their story, to listen when someone needed it, and left no judgement or ill will towards you. He had true compassion and knew the importance of this life! So many of us get so caught up in the unknown and our own existence once we have gasped for our last breath that we forgot to pay attention to the now.

I remember growing up in church feeling so overly concerned about my own salvation. God’s perception of me consumed myself to the point of obsessive praying and constant anxieties about my behavior. I felt I was a disappointment to God & my religious leaders over and over again that I was fully convinced that I would be spending all of eternity in hell. The thoughts of the now didn’t even cross my mind, and as I have grown older I see that is a very common thing in those that I interact with who are very devout to their beliefs.

“Afterlife, oh my god, what an awful word!”

I in recent years have really started to put more focus on the now, on this life, and where true happiness lies. In looking for those experiences that make THIS life worth being a part of.The unknown of what happens after this life can consume you completely like it did me, and you will realize when the end of your life does finally come, you might have lost the chance to really embrace life now. Stopped sweating the small stuff that if you believe in God more than likely doesn’t care about.

Thank you Elijah for teaching me how to love people, and for letting me be a part of your life even if it was just for a short amount of time. I will miss you, and am glad you don’t have to fight anymore.

“When love is gone, where does it go? Where do we go?”

Does it really matter as much as we make it out to be? No, I don’t think so. It’s more important to look at the now. And like Win says at the end:

“It’s just an afterlife…..”

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