• Dr Margi Brown Ash

Say their name, bring them beer and rasin cake, as long as we live, the dead shall live

Queen Isis visits the land of the dead. Her husband Osiris is Lord of the Dead and she shares with her villagers the news that there is another place where the dead go….she has seen it. She has been there. Er, in Plato’s Republic, also knows there is life after death. He goes to the underworld by mistake and witnesses what happens before the dead return to earth in a new life.

Death sits around us. Each day one of us hears about a loved one dying and our hearts shift, our understanding of the world moves and we sit in that land of the unknown for a while, trying to adjust to this new way of being.

I have spent a few years trying to reconcile this unknown continent where we go after living rich and impactful lives. I was talking to a close friend and his question was “What’s it all about? Why are we here?” I cannot answer him, but I believe that there is an afterlife. Is it as the Egyptians believed? Is there a World of the Dead? Is it as Er witnessed, a place where we get to choose a new life (after penance when required)?

I am working with young people at the moment, 22 aspiring actors who have just started out on their creative journey. I am using the scripts of my three shows that make up The Belonging Trilogy: Eve, HOME and He Dreamed a Train. These scripts include the Isis and Osiris story as well as the Myth of Er. We are finding mythical threads that lead to a deeper understanding of our lives. An acceptance of life after death, an acceptance of multiple stories and multiple interpretations of those stories. We are here for a wee while. We grow, we connect, we influence and we teach others how to flourish in this world. For if one can tap into the flourishing and vital life energy, our time spent on this earth is a worthwhile one.

One of the most flourishing and vibrant, vital and adorable women in my life has just passed. I was sleeping in another city and she gently moved into the underworld. This woman was a role model for many: full of love, of vitality and of hope. When my first born came into the world she wrote a card that read “Welcome to this wondrous world little one” and she believed it. I didn’t at the time. I was young and anxious to make a difference to our conflicted world. But my friend accepted the world as it was, and saw the beauty so clearly that you could not help but smile when you were in her presence. She helped you see the little things. She created my wedding cake, and years later my daughter’s wedding cake: hours of work, creating the most beautiful edible flowers, leaves…that was her art form. Creating edible art for people to enjoy. For she felt that love was spread in multiple ways, and one of them was through hosting. Oh how she hosted! She cooked and she created sandwiches that cannot be surpassed. She cooked pies and cakes and tarts and scones and…

My friend enriched my life. She gave me opportunities to reflect and to dream. I didn’t have to be next to her to feel her presence. All I had to do was think of her, what would she do…and then i would move forward. I am not alone. My friend was a mentor to many people. She was an example of someone who was not well known, was not famous, was not ‘out there’. No, she was ‘in there’, affecting everyone she came across. Sharing smiles, and love. A nod here, a twinkle of the eye (yes, her eyes did twinkle) and her glorious smile that lit the room…a cliche? Oh no. Anyone who met her would agree. Her smile lit the room.