May Day 2017. The night before, Father passed on from this life. Death consumed him quietly after a full dinner as he rested; shutting down his lungs, his breathing ceased and finally his heart stopped. At a full life of 90-years old, Father was ready; and has been ready for quite a while since Mother succumbed to her stroke which paralysed her for over a year some 17 years ago. Their blissful life was survived by 6 children, 6 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren! What a blessed life indeed!
Death is personal and customised for each one of us. It accompanies us like a personal shadow, growing as we grow, and at time looming larger or taller depending on the role it chooses as our alternate self. Death’s only story is the story of our life. It has no separate meaning other than whatever we have made with our life. We are death’s only friend; that’s why it is often confusing as we hear its voice beckoned so welcoming when our time cometh as we then struggle to prolong our earthly time by grasping at the straw of a diminishing life.
The fear of death is quite exaggerated, and unfounded, when to die is actually perfectly normal. All natural living things die. It is such an important part of the natural process. Death is many things to different people who prefer not to talk or think about it. Like it or not, though most of us do not like it, it is more like we do not like its often uncertain timing. If only we can choose when to die, wouldn’t that be great!
The main problem is that most people are not ready to die. Yet, most would live their life as if death would not occur. We know life is short, and yet we rush through it without spending quality time to appreciate the beauty of nature or create meaningful moments with our loved ones. Many eat the wrong diets that shorten our short life-span; others repeatedly poison their bodies with tobacco and nicotine; or regularly drown their stomach, livers and kidneys in alcoholic beverages; and millions others are addicted to consume strange chemicals in the forms of vitamin-substitutes, health “supplements” and man-made medicines. Ironically, death probably never works harder to prevent the onset of massive and pandemic premature human deaths that should otherwise occur as a natural consequence of mankind suicidal life-styles!
Death is also romanticised by a spiritual interpretation. Many man-made religions teach death as the separation of the imagined human “soul” from the physical body, and which goes on living somewhere forever … to “heaven” if one has been “good”, to “hell” if he/she has been “bad” or to a “holding” location to be determined by some “gods” or divine beings. Some religious beliefs would “recycle” the dead back to this world to provide another opportunity for them to live a “better” life … why not send them back to a better version of this world, I wonder?! Who indeed would want to come back to this wretched broken world again …!
There is no evidence that the probabilistic existence of “heaven” and “hell”, or “recycling” for a better life, has any effect on criminal behavior or better civic treatment of fellow human beings or more socially responsible behavior in the community. My take is that everyone knew that no one is really “good” enough to go to heaven … everyone irrespective of our jobs or station in life is guilty of insufficient “good” deeds to qualify for that hallowed “heaven” place. We are all condemned by the good that we failed to do! That would leave “hell” as the common final destination for the human souls; this is really comforting since many friends, buddies, and enemies, would therefore be re-united after death.
The notion of the “afterlife” is a denial of death being the end of life. People are just not ready to leave their loved ones, or to stop enjoying their daily golf games or to cease having their party fun. Others are really happy growing their businesses, increasing personal wealth and prosperity way beyond their need to fuel a greater sense of security and enhance their happiness assets. To many, the “afterlife” is necessary in order to be truly human. For them, life is a path that must lead somewhere, anywhere … as long as it does not just end!....
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