Death – No Fear

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately.  Not so much the act of dying, but more about my own mortality.

I never really thought about my mortality until my nephews were born.  I’m not a daredevil, necessarily, but it never occurred to me to play it “safe” in my daily life.  Once my nephews came along, however, I began to think that I needed to be safer in my choices so that they wouldn’t lose their Auntie Alyx.  I remember how sad Forrest (the oldest) got when I told him I was moving to Prague, and both he and Gabriel look forward to my visits – as do I – so I can only imagine how sad they’d be if I were to die.  Plus, I’d miss out on seeing them grow into adults, and all that encompasses.

Still, I’m not afraid of dying.  I think I’ve always seen death as similar to going into the Bermuda Triangle; a new land to explore, if you will.  We don’t know what to expect when we get there, because all who have gone (or in the case of the Bermuda Triangle, reportedly gone) haven’t come back to tell of their experience.

One of my favorite quotes about death is from Harry Potter.  In response to Harry’s shock that Dumbledore’s friend, Nicolas Flamel, is willing to give up the Philosopher’s Stone after 600 plus years of life, Dumbledore says:

” . . . to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure . . . “

Later in the same chapter, he also said:

” . . . fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself . . . “

True, Dumbledore was talking about Voldemort in the second quote, but I think it still holds true to death.  So many euphemisms have been invented for death – passing on, crossing over, curtains, the endless sleep – seemingly because we are afraid to call it what it really is.

But why are we so afraid of it?  Why are we, as a race, so concerned with living forever?  When someone dies from a disease or a violent act, we try to rid the world of the disease or the act.  When a natural disaster comes by and wipes out homes, or an entire village, we try our best to learn how to fend off those sorts of attacks, too.

Don’t get me wrong, loss of a loved one – or an entire group of people – can be devastating, but loss, like death, is an inevitable fact of life.  We won’t be able to get rid of death simply by getting rid of things that currently bring it about.  More things will come to spur it along.  Nothing’s designed to last forever, even humans, so why are we so determined to try to make it so that we never have to lose someone, or something?  Especially for people who believe in God and Heaven.  If they truly believe their loved ones will go to a better place when they die, why are they so afraid to let them go?

Take people whose loved one is dying from a lengthy, painful disease.  It seems reasonable to assume that the ailing person won’t feel any more pain or suffering once they die, but many times they hang on because they can sense that their hale and healthy loved ones don’t want to let them go.

One of my favorite movies addresses this perfectly:

Personally, I’m fascinated with the idea of death.  Not that I want it to come anytime soon, but when it does, I hope I’ll embrace it with the wonder of going on a new journey.  I truly believe that, despite all the theories we humans have about death, none of us really know what happens when we die.  I don’t know that we actually can until it’s time for us to go.  Chances are that I won’t even be able to grasp what’s happening to me on the intellectual level I’m currently used to, but I hope I’ll have a flash of insight right before my brain stops.

Even though death is a definite, one thing that might make it easier to accept is to truly enjoy the life we’re living right now.  By viewing each day and experience as a fascinating incident, maybe we’ll get enough practice at it that we’ll be able to see death as Dumbledore said . . . the next great adventure.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maddy
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 08:36:03

    Both my parents are very elderly, and my Mother in Law lives with us at an even more senior age. The frailty of life is obvious to me on a daily basis, which as you say, makes me even more determined to enjoy every day I can as much as possible.

    Reply

  2. Heather Haven
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 08:57:34

    I’ve been thinking about my own mortality, as well, but I think you’ve said it better. I once thought, never let a piece of chocolate know your name; it will call to you incessantly. Now my thoughts run along the lines of, life is short, Heather. Answer the call.

    Reply

  3. Dana
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 14:07:28

    Because I do think this is it for our lives, I believe in living life to the fullest… and stop treating it as a dress rehearsal. I also love my sister’s view that the universe et al is made up of consciousness and that we all continue within that somehow.
    I’ve been thinking of mortality a lot lately too… well, for the last two years since my dad died. And knowing that I will not be around forever. Even if I think I SHOULD be. 🙂

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 06, 2012 @ 14:27:04

      LOL Yeah, maybe that’s it, Dana…that many people think they SHOULD be around forever. I personally wouldn’t want to be, but I think that’s because I believe in multiple lives; something in line with your sister’s beliefs, but with some additional thoughts. My beliefs are quite complicated, but maybe some day I’ll be able to put them down cohesively here in this blog. I’ll warn people about the mental roller coaster first, though. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

  4. Dolly Chamberlin
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 15:42:55

    Thank you!!! I couldn’t think of anything to add, except thank you. LOVES 😉

    Reply

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