Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tears in Heaven



It's the first of the month so you know what that means. No, I'm not handing out any free cheese or anything like that. It's Blog Exchange day. This month, I'm working with Des of Diggity Des. The theme is to take a song and write about it. Welcome Des!

What would you do if your small child plummeted out of a window to his death? If you are Eric Clapton, you write a song about it and share your grief with the world.

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.
Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way
Through night and day,
'Cause I know I just can't stay
Here in heaven.
Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.
Beyond the door,
There's peace I'm sure,
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven.
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.

*Lyrics from http://www.eric-clapton.co.uk/ecla/lyrics/tears-in-heaven.html”>
Eric Clapton’s Lyric Archive


This song is extremely moving to me. Not only because it is about the death of a child (which is one of my greatest fears even though I don’t have any children) but because it raises some interesting issues.

This is heaven in a non-religious sense. This heaven assumes that you are more than just a corpse rotting in the ground when you die; there is some other time or place that you will go and meet up with your loved ones. But will your loved ones recognize you? Will you recognize them?

Many people just assume that when you go to heaven, you remain exactly as you were when you die. In Eric’s case, his son would remain 4 years old for all of eternity. And Eric, when he finally meets him in heaven would have aged significantly. Would they recognize each other. No doubt Eric would remember his son at 4, but would the boy know his father so many years later? Many 4 year olds don’t remember their extended family unless they see them often.

This view is a bit pessimistic (I know, it’s a depressing topic, so of course it seems negative.) But there are other views. For example, Mark Twain’s short story “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” reveals that once someone gets to heaven, they can be any age they choose. Most people eventually choose an older age, because youth is too immature and na├»ve. Would this happen to Eric’s son?

Another view is presented in “Wristcutters: A Love Story in which there is a special place set aside for suicides. It’s not exactly heaven, but it is an afterlife of sorts. There, you remain exactly as you were when you took your own life, including any resulting scars or disfigurements. There is a character that flung herself off a building, and thus walks with a limp and cane in the afterlife. Eric’s son was not a suicide, but if he had been he would presumably also walk a little funny. (Nobody has a 53-story fall without a few broken bones.) But maybe the continued disfigurement is a form of punishment. If heaven is really Heaven in the traditional sense, there would be no reminder of how one died. If you get to choose your own age, why would you not also get to choose your own physical state? And who would choose a state of anything less than peak?

“Life” in heaven is a topic that is discussed frequently, but unfortunately can only remain as speculation. There is also the possibility that heaven will meet whatever standards you set for it, be they angels with wings and harps, or continuing to “live” the way you are accustomed to. It may also be that Eric will see his son as the 4 year old he lost, while the boy has become a middle aged man. It is all about perception and expectation. I hope that for Eric’s sake, he is able to reunite with his son in heaven, knowing each others’ names and faces, and that all of us may have the same reunion with our own loved ones.


des usually is not this serious or forlorn. You can check out her regular selfand Vicky's song at the wonderful world of des, and a big thanks to Vicky for letting me depress you all just a little bit, and to the blog exchange for making it all happen.




It's also time to award a Perfect Post. I'm giving Sarah from Hollywood Flakes the February Perfect post for this entry. It made me laugh so hard at the accuracy of the third trimester of pregnancy. It's a great perspective. You can see other Perfect Post winners at Suburban Turmoil or at MommaK's site. Enjoy!

10 comments:

  1. What a wonderful, thought provoking post. You address a subject that many of us think about often.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I can't even listen to that song, it touches so painfully the greatest fear I have. A thoughtful post. Thanks!

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  3. I didn't think it was forlorn, des. Insightful? Yes.

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  4. I did not know Eric Clapton's song was about his child or that he had lost a son. I will never think about the song the same way.

    I thought is was well-written.

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  5. I think this is a fabulous, thoughtful post and I am nominating it for one of the best of the blog exchange. Thanks for giving me something to mull over.

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  6. Thanks for appreciating my serious side and stuff, and whatever.
    :)

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  7. I fear losing a child (and I have them). Reading The Lovely Bones was so hard.

    Great post. I don't think there is a heaven. We need to enjoy each other while we can.

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  8. FROM Sarah at Hollywood Flakes:
    I wonder about this all the time. Hopefully we will all just be at our "perfect age" in heaven but it seems to be some people are better at 40 and others are better at 20. And as far as children dying - I have to hope that parents will be able to finish raising their little ones on the other side. So many questions.

    Great post - I love this song.

    And thanks, Vicky for the award :)

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  9. (blogger's messing with me, so sorry if this is a repeat!)

    very thought-provoking, indeed - thank you for finding all the angles on one man's hope to see his son again.

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  10. Great post. I lost a good friend right when that song came out, and even though it's very sad, I sort of appreciate the chance to stop and remember him every time I hear this beautiful song.

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Thanks for commenting! It's always good to hear from a reader and not say, a robot.