The Christian Orthodox church has a few thoughts about the soul and what happens to it, which I’ll try to explain in my capacity of, as dad always describes it, of a “superstitious atheist”. There are various dates after the passing which are important, mostly the 3rd, 9th and 40th after the death.
Day 1 – 3 (last Friday to Sunday): the soul hangs out in its favourite places. In this case, we imagine Mum to be going for a run between Hammersmith and Putney Bridge, or us cooking dinner at home, having a coffee in Fulham Palace. Maybe has a wander to Burgas and the sea, at sunrise.
Day 3 – 9: The soul goes up to check out heaven with the archangels. I picture this like house hunting with a hint of cloud: you peer around, make comments about the view, scope out the local restaurants and running routes.
Day 9 – 40: This is a Dante-style purgatory.
Today is Day 9, so we went to the Russian Orthodox church to order some prayers as mum’s soul goes through this tougher period. Gigi and I were somewhat unprepared – unlike Bulgarian churches, the Russian Orthodox ones expect you to cover your head. After feeling really quite awkward, we lit candles and reflected.
Hang in there, Mum – you’ll ace it like you ace everything!