Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green

Alice wasn’t expecting to go to Paradise, either by way of Kensal Green or any other way. Not after what she’d done.

She’d never been exactly religious, but she had once held spiritual beliefs and thought there might be an afterlife. But, when her dog, Beanie died – or rather was put down, which was far more traumatic – she’d lost faith. She’d have loved to have the comfort of believing Beanie was in a better place, that she might one day be reunited with her, but when push came to shove she realised for the first time that she didn’t actually believe in any of this.

The vet had come to the house and Alice held Beanie while she was given the injection and she felt her go. They buried her in the garden. Beanie was very old and ill, so it was a kindness to help her on her way. But afterwards, Alice didn’t feel Beanie’s presence around the house. She was well and truly gone.

So, when her mother died, she felt a tad hypocritical when, as she lay dying, saying to her ‘You’re going to join Dad’. In a sense she was, as he was dead, but she was saying it to reassure and comfort her mother, who was afraid.

Having no belief in heaven or hell was a comfort to Alice as she waded into the sea in Cornwall. She didn’t think she was going to be in eternal hell. She wasn’t going to be punished, beyond the awfulness of deliberately drowning herself.

The water was extremely cold, even though it was summer. It was very early in the morning, as she knew the beach would be deserted at that time. It was high tide and turning to go out, prefect conditions for what she intended. She waded in very slowly, waiting for her legs to go numb as she gradually walked into deeper water. She took her time. She looked around her, at the beauty of the scenery and was glad to be somewhere so beautiful to meet her end.

Far better than a hospital bed, with no dignity left. Being kept alive for no good reason, other than the medics Hippocratic oath. So, in a sense, Alice did choose paradise, by way of a Cornish beach.

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