I posted these words a year after her death. I return to them now. They are from the book Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. Yuri is speaking to someone who fears she is dying. She wants to know his thoughts on "death, the survival of consciousness, faith in resurrection..." He says:
“Resurrection. In the crude form in which it is preached to console the weak, it is alien to me. I have always understood Christ’s words about the living and the dead in a different sense. Where could you find room for all these hordes of people accumulated over thousands of years? The universe isn’t big enough for them; God, the good, and meaningful purpose would be crowded out. They’d be crushed by those throngs greedy merely for the animal life.
But all the time, life, one, immense, identical throughout its innumerable combinations and transformations, fills the universe and is continually reborn. You are anxious about whether you will rise from the dead or not, but you rose from the dead when you were born and you didn’t notice it.
Will you feel pain? Do the tissues feel their disintegration? In other words, what will happen to your consciousness? But what is consciousness? Let’s see. A conscious attempt to fall asleep is sure to produce insomnia, to try to be conscious of one’s own digestion is a sure way to upset the stomach. Consciousness is a poison when we apply it to ourselves. Consciousness is a light directed outward, it lights up the way ahead of us so that we don’t stumble. It’s like the headlights on a locomotive - turn them inward and you’d have a crash.
So what will happen to your consciousness? Your consciousness, yours, not anyone else's? Well, what are you? There’s the point. Let’s try to find out. What is it about you that you have always known as yourself? Your kidneys? Your liver? Your blood vessels? No. However far back you go in your memory, it is always in some external, active manifestation of yourself that you come across your identity - in the work of your hands, in your family, in other people. And now listen carefully. You in others - this is your soul. This is what you are. This is what your consciousness has breathed and lived on and enjoyed throughout your life - your soul,your immortality, your life in others. And what now? You have always been in others and you will remain in others. And what does it matter to you if later on that is called your memory? This will be you - the you that enters the future and becomes a part of it.
And now one last point. There is nothing to fear. There is no such thing as death. Death has nothing to do with us. But you said something about being talented - that it makes one different. Now, that does have something to do with us. And talent in the highest and broadest sense means talent for life.
There will be no death, says St. John. His reasoning is quite simple. There will be no death because the past is over; that’s almost like saying there will be no death because it is already done with, it’s old and we are bored with it. What we need is something new, and that new thing is life eternal.”
He then touches her head, and tells her to "Go to sleep." She sleeps and wakes refreshed.