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