Thursday

Death



National Geographic says two people around the world die every second. There couldn’t be a more natural part of life than death, yet, we run and hide from the subject as if it’s going to make it go away. It’s the equivalent of sticking our fingers in our ears, closing our eyes tightly, and humming a song loudly to stop anything approaching us.

The Upanishad titled “Death as Teacher” says “Birth is but the beginning of a trajectory to death; for all their love, parents cannot halt it and in a sense have ‘given is to death’ merely by giving us birth

How can we best be prepared for this parting, termed Death? In its wake, one experiences deep depression, a sense of grief, sadness and even anger. Some resort to the isolated road, or use drugs, alcohol to numb the loss and some have family and siblings to be sad together with, grow stronger with, and deal with the loss.

Advice is free flowing at such times, but the ear is not willing. And anyway- free advice is hardly ever heeded to, right?

The huge question that stares one in the face, will life ever be normal. How could this happen to me/us. Why did it have to happen to us? What wrong did we do to anyone? Yes, universal questions.

But heck Death is not a punishment. No. An eventuality, yes. A certainty, yes. Perhaps even a gift, at times.

Sure the photographs, albums get displaced, the clothes get given away, the rearranging of life beyond superficiality, gotta be addressed. Yes displacement disrupts normalcy. Big time.

My quest is not to understand this ‘post-death’ phase. I am hoping to deep dive into why so many of us, are not prepared for this eventuality called Death. Why do we run scared of something we know for sure is a cent per cent occurrence? Why do we fear it so?

The initial argument is perhaps, not wanting to see the loved one in discomfort or pain, hence you want the individual to get well. Despite knowing the status is getting bad to worse, we still hope for a miracle of recovery. Sure this is optimism, positive thinking. But don’t most live in a dogged denial, negation - of *the one* eventuality? We simply do not want to bell this one.

So, what are we afraid of here? The pain and suffering the loved is going through? But that will only reduce, peace will make way. Their agony? Cannot be, right? Because that will eventually make way for calm.

So, could it be the sadness of them departing, leaving us “alone” behind that makes us sad? So possible. The one about to move into the next phase of a new journey is sad because he/she cares, just as much, as we do. It’s this unseen strong force that weds us into a bonded close relationship. It is this very unseen force that makes us crumble with a fear of loss. And perhaps that is why we remain afraid, mortally afraid.

So, we are afraid?

Afraid of a life without that loved one? Afraid of lack of companionship? Unconditional love? A bond that means so much, is about to snap? Then, it is about ‘us’? And not really, about the person who is dying, right? We are afraid that our status quo is/will be disrupted. Change is never good, is it?

And if that be the case, it once again proves, doesn’t it, Love is selfish. Rooted in “I, me, myself”, unbending and uncompromising? So, my conclusion - Are love and Death, 2 sides of the same coin?

In our fear of dying, we seem to have forgotten that it is a natural process that is part of life. Plato believed that death would free the soul, so that it could reach perfection. And even a determinist cannot claim that we don’t have the choice to decide over our life, even if in that view we have no sway over the events in our life. The right to Death should be as fundamental as the right to life!? For another day.

Go well, ALL

19 comments:

melinda said...

YossarMee!:) Which path are you heading towards darling?:)

john said...

This is a subject mired in fear and untellable emotions.

Good to see you put down thoughts vividly. Explore beyond comfort! Way to go. Death indeed is one certainty, there is no getting away from, no hood winking it.

rajindermakkar said...

Hey, you hv left the issue of life after death wide open - for another day! Yet it is this very uncertainty- after death what, which scares ppl!!!

ashish said...

I am not sure I will ever accept Death. Or the ensuing sadness, fear and tears. I am not sure I will ever be reconciled to it ... While I know Death is certain< my brain is a bit slow in accepting it. If one keeps oneself healthy and fit, one can atleast have a fighting chance against death (upto a point!) - Sure...after a certain point...

Pharma Pharmer said...

Well known Russian astro physicist in his own style, once said (which only a scientist like him can say) - "life is exciting, death is peaceful; it's the transition which is troublesome"

To my mind it aptly sums up the actual reality of phenomenon called Death...let's not forget, the moment we are born, we are sentenced to death...we all know this fact, yet we delude ourselves in thinking that it will never happen to us

This essentially Yudhistra answered to a question by Yama (lord of Death), when he asked what is the biggest wonder of this world. And Yudhistra said, "that everybody sees death around him / her, but continues to live life thinking that it will not happen to me" - trivia is that this was one of the question of long quiz which Yama adminsitered to Yudhistra, on answering all the tricky questions correctly, Yama brought to life all the other Pandavas who died once during the course of their vanvas (stay in Jungle)

Let's just remember one fact - what caterpiller thinks of as an end, the world sees it as a buuterfly

Cheers!

shruti said...

you just hit the bulls eye again meenakshi. You know, when i pray my first and foremost thought is "i should die before any of my loved ones dies" not realising how selfish this prayer is.. I want to leave everybody in pain because i dont want to go through that same pain. It time we all realise life is a movie, a candy,a journey, a story.. if it has beginning its gotta have an end.

keep them coming Meenakshi.. :)

sanjiv said...

Deep, dark and a heavy topic princess!!

Next week in sin city we shall arm ourselves (I will) - and then we talk abt this in person!! Look fwd to seeing you soon!

sheila said...

Loved it!

Never not ask or explore the unknown. It needs courage to trek there. We only get wiser with the discoveries.

Wishing you a world of discoveries Mee:)

Anon said...

Hey. Was thinking of you and wondering how you are doing. Are you better? cough /cold gone??

Read this post as well as the one on 'disappointment' ...echoes my thoughts completely
and I do feel all this 'wisdom' dawns on us naturally as we gather experience.

Take care

PP

magiceye said...

wonderfully analysed!
it is also the fear of the unknown hence not knowing what is required to cope with the changed circumstances in the next world :)

Mike said...

Asking Q's is a sign of the curious mind, explore child, explore.

Innate curiosity can only allow you to live well, deal with all that you are faced with.

My dear Mee, may you grow from strength to strength

M

weisel said...

i sometimes feel tht its all a DREAM we are living! reality is that,look @it closly every night we hit the bed, off to sleep,is it not tht we are dead! yeah it is peacful alot paecful at tht moment, as everyone suggests tht DEATH IS TO BE AT PEACE,U CM TO PEACe, provided if only in the state of awakening(when we are alive) we are at peace with ourselves!! then only death becomes peacful,wud say an extension of ur living life, hw u live life??

Anon said...

Important subject for people to ponder over!!!!! well Mee, how are you? when are you visiting Chennai, next????? Advance Happy Diwali!!! Take care dear... with regards

Uma

Mee said...

@mel- yossarmel!! Path of growth?:) detachment? understanding?:)

@John - TY

@rajindermakkar - I promise to get to this subject (soon?):)

@ashish - life is a great teacher and a great leveller. In time we all reach our focal goals:)

@Pharma Pharmer - so very true. Human fallacy?:) We like the make believe world?:))

@shruti - will do:) who'd understand this btr than u, all one needs is 'inspiration':)

@Sanjiv - life unravelling can never be dark:) it shld be illuminating:)

TY @Sheila:)

Completely with u @PP:)

@magiceye - but it is exactly the unknown we must unravel...if we want to be able to come to terms with stuff...

TY @Mikey:)

@weisel - its a nice analogy- if we look at life as a dream...then perhaps some may even have the courage to do things better, more superman-ish in their dreams, which they maybe afraid to, in real life..:)

@Uma - u will be the 1st to knw if am coming in your part of the world - no plans as of now:)

Neeraj said...

I agree with your points. When it comes to death, we all have our head in sand.
I think once this eventuality is accepted, it may lead us to lead happier lives. It may give us an ability to concentrate on what is really important. I read this book where the author argues that the key to happier life is to know what you would want people to say about you on your funeral. "X was a good father/mother/sister/brother/husband/wife/friend/co-worker/etc".

Rohit Narang said...

Hi,
I have never afraid of death, i luv to talk bout it openly in my family! I used to tease my grand ma of her death before her death of her death! I loved her more than my mom!
Some1 truly said- Life is beautiful, death is peaceful.... Only transition is difficult!
I fear the sufferings only! It gts more unexpainable if u c a paalytic person lying on the bed, dependent on others for 10-15 yrs before dying. The pain for u while watching that person increases on learning that the person have been truthful, sane all his life!

Vox Populi said...

The only truth in this world is Death. We are never sure about birth but once alive is bound to die.
We all know that there is no escape from it but yet we are afraid of it. I'm not afraid of dying, I'm rather afraid of failing to die within seconds and getting entangled in that pain.

gangtokay said...

There are two ways I look at my own death. The first is, I look forward to it. Not in a suicidal way mind. In the sense, that I will be at peace. And free. Yes free. From care, from expectations, from pain itself. But on the other hand, I dread the arrival. The moments before death actually happens. I shudder to think what I might be regretting. I've made most of my life's big decisions based on one simple question: "will I regret doing this, or not doing this in my deathbed?" Sometimes, when the answer is yes, I ask another question: "is the thing that I am about to do worth the guilt?" When, the answer is yes, I do it. How many decisions I've made thus are going to haunt me on my death bed? And these are just the ones I've accounted for!

nightwritter said...

There are two ways I look at my own death. The first is, I look forward to it. Not in a suicidal way mind. In the sense, that I will be at peace. And free. Yes free. From care, from expectations, from pain itself. But on the other hand, I dread the arrival. The moments before death actually happens. I shudder to think what I might be regretting. I've made most of my life's big decisions based on one simple question: "will I regret doing this, or not doing this in my deathbed?" Sometimes, when the answer is yes, I ask another question: "is the thing that I am about to do worth the guilt?" When, the answer is yes, I do it. How many decisions I've made thus are going to haunt me on my death bed? And these are just the ones I've accounted for!