Death can be scary and complicated:
Death means so much to so many people. Many fear it as the painful ending of a painful life. Others feel it is just the beginning of a new and wonderful life. Some feel it may be the end of this life on earth and the beginning of another life on earth. And many feel that this life is the punishment and we will die and go to a wonderful world of beauty and wonder as payment. How do you define something that has so many definitions and yet can never be truly defined until we die?
We believe as we are taught:
We are taught by our parents (guardians) what they were taught as children. We gain enlightenment from those teachings and thus perceive death accordingly. Yet, we often learn that what we have been taught is actually not the truth: like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. These are actually creations of someone’s imagination to entice children to be good around the holidays. So why would the teachings we have learned about death be any different? If we are taught to be good for Santa Claus only to discover that he isn’t real (or is he), then why should we believe in what we have been taught about death?
Even what we have been taught is changed as we grow and learn other things:
I am not an expert on death and I do not claim to know what happens or where we go. I have feared death for a long time as a gruesome monster who wears a long dark robe and carries a scythe. He comes to your dying bedside and smirks at your discomfort and pain waiting for that very last breath to escape your lungs before dragging you down to join others who have also breathed their last. Then he places you in a position of suffering for the length of millenniums to come.
I was not taught this, exactly; but that is how it was perceived as I grew and learned other things about the world around me. I saw hatred, bias, violence, theft, murder, pain, and suffering all around me and began to add things to the ‘death’ I had been taught. I believe we all do the same thing. We are taught what our parents believe (usually based on their experiences and what they learned growing up) and then we add things as we see reality unfolding around us. And, of course, what we experience ourselves.
What will we see and feel?
I fear no one can truly answer that question, since none of us can know the answer until we die. Many have died and come back claiming to have seen so many wonderful things, but each of their stories were different.
- Does that mean that each of ours will be different? Is death something that is personal to each of us?
- Will we see our lives passing before our eyes in a kind of parade or celebration, emphasizing our good and bad points along the way?
- Will we slip away from our body quickly and know no more even though loved ones sit at our bedside and weep for our passing?
- Will we be aware of those who sit and await our death? Will we hear the soft voices bidding us farewell or feel the lips gently kissing our forehead?
- Will we feel the warmth of the hand that holds our hand as we slowly slip away?
- Will we know if anyone is there to comfort us, or will we see and hear others who have gone before us calling us to join them?
- Will we feel the intense pain of a stopping heart, or will we simply fall into a deep sleep from which we will never awaken?
- Will we see those around us as if we are seeing something from another’s view, or will we just be gone?
- Will we float around like a ghost?
- Will we know we are dead?
- Will we be afraid?
Which is the truth? What I believe:
We may never know until we actually face death ourselves. However, I believe that there is a new, better world waiting for us when we die and that we are guided by an entity (our conscience) though we don’t always heed the guidance. I believe that there is a reason why we are offered good and bad choices and that we will learn why once we have passed from this world. Each of us has a belief, whether we share it or not.
Who knows if any of us are right in the way we believe. Perhaps we have all been terribly mistaken. Perhaps we will have to face a whole new way of life totally alien to us. Perhaps we will have to admit that we are simply the larvae for another life like the caterpillar whose life ends when he becomes a butterfly.
I have heard people talk about the light and salvation. I have heard people talk about heaven and hell. I have heard people talk about a new beginning and I have heard people talk about the final end. I have heard it all, as I am sure you have; but the truth? Sadly, we must wait, as a passenger waits for a delayed plane, to see what the truth of our lives will be. Until then, I hope we all live life to the fullest so that when we die, we can at least feel that we have lived.