Errol Milner Clifford 2006-2009

Errol Milner Clifford was born with a significant heart defect and a cognitive disability that prevented him from walking or talking. As we grieved the child we had anticipated, Errol’s full-bodied smile and irrepressible laugh turned our sorrow into joy, and taught us that many of the best things in life are unexpected. Inspired by Errol’s delightful spirit, friends, family, and neighbors rallied to support our family’s significant emotional, physical, and financial needs, through countless acts of selfless generosity. When Errol’s courageous heart finally failed him on December 23, 2009 we were left numb with grief. In these dark hours we listen hopefully for the echoes of Errol’s brilliant laugh. This blog is the story (starting from present and working back to Errol's birth) of the life and times of the amazing Errol Clifford.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Theory # 27 about why Errol is so damn happy

The other day, a radio show called The People’s Pharmacy focused on the issue of near-death experiences (NDE). Everything has an acronym (EHAA). The research done on NDEs has yielded fascinating results about consciousness and how these experiences affect people’s lives, but still, I don't think I'll volunteer for a study. People who have experiences near-death experiences undergo dramatic changes in values and beliefs, including a greater appreciation for life, greater compassion for others, a heightened sense of purpose and self-understanding, and a desire to learn. Time after time, children who have had an NDE have shown tendencies towards heightened altruism, happiness, and connections to others. Why is this? Do they feel lucky to be alive?

One NDE researcher conjectures that we see ourselves as a bag of bones with all our physical identities attached: man, American, adult, organ grinder, Hindu, etc., and that when we start to slip away from our body we see how ephemeral those identities are and what separation they can cause. When we come back, we then begin to see ourselves as part of something bigger, something less material. Of course, Errol is just a pup, with a very different consciousness that my own (I think). I don’t imagine he was listing his identities as he slipped into (and, thank god, out of) the hereafter on day 1. But whatever happened, Errol has been saved from death more than once and he is the happiest, hoppiest person I’ve ever known. And he certainly isn’t preoccupied with his identity.

You can hear the story for yourself. Certainly, some of the NDE crowd out there are quacks, but still, the science is pretty amazing and the stories are compelling.