Death is one of those things no one likes to talk about (except maybe funeral directors and coffin manufacturers). Especially when the death is of someone we love or comes at a time, which we believe is out of place, it hurts us deeply and challenges our notions of contentment and happiness.
I have often said, “The number one cause of death is having been born.” Until someone rediscovers the Fountain of Youth, or finds a technique that reverses aging in a sense far greater than Botox and boob-jobs, it will remain the number one cause of death. Dying is inevitable, and is part of the design of human existence. It gives us cause to pursue hopes and dreams, work diligently, and try to accomplish something worthwhile. After all, life is short.
Without question, our mortal shells eventually fail us - leaving behind those other lives who have loved us. We mourn and grieve our loss because, physically, we can have no more interaction with someone who has died. The smile, the voice, the touch, the scent… all these aspects of the person are gone, leaving only memories and a sense of the personality and spirit they gave to our own experience.
However, these memories of a person who has passed, and the questions that ensue are what cause so much grief. Is the spirt of a person simply extinguished upon dying? Does the existence of a person simply end with a final breath? Will we ever again be in the presence of this person we held so dear?
These unknowns are the source of much angst. Some people get angry, while others get sad. Some detach, while others cling to everything. Each of us goes through all of these phases, in one form or another. Death is not an easy thing for the human mind to grapple. We can believe what we want, but the truth is: we don’t know what happens after death.
Peace comes when we reach the stage of accepting the unknown. Some people never reach this stage, struggling eternally with human conceptions of right and wrong and what should and should not be. However, it is healthy to accept not knowing the answers. Accepting that we don’t know gives room for our faith to take back over our understanding: much like our faith was when the person was still walking the Earth.
Of course, dealing with grief and the loss of a loved one is a very individual matter. Each person must personally come to terms with his or her particular situation - a large reason there are non-profit organizations devoted to helping people deal with the physical reality of death.
The way I have come to understand things… there is life after death, as long as the memory of a person remains, and the unseen force of a person’s spirit remains part of the constant theory of matter. Death simply allows a spirit once confined to a body to become unified with the rest of the universe… something we consciously or subconsciously seek throughout “life.” In this, I find peace in death.
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