Last night was one of those nights where you lay awake with your eyes glazed over just thinking. For one reason or another I started to think about death. I thought about my grandfather dying of cancer at 60 and my great grandmother dying at 94. They lived very different lives, but both lead to the same fatal conclusion, death. We all die. One day I will no longer exist on this planet – and it will be business as usual. Even when someone great dies there is barely a hiccup.
I wonder how I’ll go? I wonder if I’ll die a quick and unexpected death or if I’ll deteriorate in a hospital for a few months trying to battle this or that disease – finally my vital organs will give up and I will pass away. In any case, the scary thing is, my time will come. All of our time will come. One day we will all stare death in the face and have to accept our own mortality. I wonder what I will do to comfort myself?
Will I turn to God at my last moments (or before then) in hopes of a bit of comfort about my own human mortality? I wonder if I will die a peaceful death after a long life knowing that I have completed all I had set out to do. Hell, maybe I’ll walk into the doctor’s office at 30 and find out I have cancer and only a month to live. Who knows, but things like that happen every day. The truth is none of us know exactly how long we have here.
I think most people just ignore death, that is until it’s happening. Death is a topic we don’t try to remind ourselves about, I guess. Looking at my own life – I always think to myself – I could live my whole life over again and still be fairly young. That is comforting for now, but what about when that is no longer true. Is accepting death something we come to terms with as we age, knowing the inevitable ending to our short story? We want exist forever, heaven and an afterlife is a convenient comfort in that regard. I have to admit – thinking about it all just being over is kind of sad.
There is some comfort in it all though. I remember all those who have taken the journey before me. All the great thinkers and people who have already met death – I’ll be there too. It’s nothing new and it’s inevitable. In fact, death kind of keeps you in your place. It prevents complacency and promotes appreciation. A definitive end gives people incentive to really live.