The Lighter Side of Death
The Lighter Side of Death
Thinking about Death is morbid, right? Well, this is where I think we have a problem. I believe there are many lessons to be learnt once we openly discuss Death. The problem is, we have developed a fear of death, and that makes it impossible to actually come to terms with it. When I was searching for photographs for this blog, for example, anything related to death seemed dark and depressing. Gravestones with ravens sitting on them don’t tend to provide comfort to anybody!
I recently read The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware, and it got me thinking. Writing about death is a brave move. So many people look away in horror at the thought of it. In a way its like taking on the subject of religion. It’s something people have strong feelings about but just don’t want to talk about. But it’s real. We can’t escape it. This book approaches the subject in such a gentle, compassionate, and honest way, it makes it a compelling read. The stories shared in the book are heart-warming and filled with important life lessons. If you are looking to learn some beautiful lessons from the dying I highly recommend reading her book.
Being afraid of death and hiding from it doesn’t make it any less a reality
Ok, so we know we all die. The problem is we are so much in denial about it that we aren’t ready for it when it happens. We don’t live every moment, we don’t say the ‘I Love You’s’ that need to be said, we don’t take that trip to Fiji and we don’t push for the life we long for because we believe there’s ‘always tomorrow’. My question is, what if being more aware of the inevitable we actually lived our lives more fully? This is often the experience of people who have had a near death experience. They value their time on earth that much more! They also don’t fear death anymore, but that is a different post altogether!
Let’s be honest, the reason we are afraid of death is because we are afraid of the unknown
But, in cultures that believe in an afterlife they celebrate death and embrace it as part of their life story. This may seem weird to those of us who aren’t familiar with it, but doing this makes it something beautiful instead of something to fear. What this means is that when a loved one is experiencing their final hours we can be there for them, honouring their life instead of bringing our fears and anxiety to the table.
Don’t get me wrong, mourning for someone we love is natural and to be expected. My concern is that we lose sight of their final moments in favour of our own pain. We should wish only to be a source of comfort for them at this time. If we talked more about death throughout our lives we would be more prepared for it when it comes. It will never be easy but maybe we will be able to send our loved ones on their way from a place of compassion rather than fear.
Let’s look at why we are afraid of death
In the end it’s about being honest with ourselves. What are we really afraid of? We are afraid of where we will end up, and whether there is something good after this life. Sadly, we live in fear of punishment. Throughout our lives we are fed stories of good versus evil. We wonder where we will end up when our time comes. Part of us believes we will suffer. Part of us wishes for an end to suffering. We make it bigger than it needs to be in some aspects and smaller than it is in others. This is it a major transition, but it does not need to be something to fear. We fear the pain, we fear the loss, and that’s okay. What we need to avoid is letting this fear turn into a choke hold on our joy for living.
What happens is we block death out because of our fear. This means we are ill-prepared for the inevitable. It also means we don’t fully enjoy what we have! What am I talking about? If you live this life from a place of fear how can you fully live? In The Untethered Soul my Michael A. Singer he writes about death being the great equalizer and this really hit home for me. When our time is up there are no more 2nd chances, no more last ‘I love you’s’, no more Iphones and no more worries about who looks the best in their jeans! What are we wasting our time worrying about these things for? When all is said and done we are stripped of it all and only our purest intentions remain.
I understand that every day there are people whose lives end through suffering, but I believe if we understood more about what comes after we pass on, it would lighten the load of fear.
One of the hardest things about death is saying goodbye to those we love
Worst case being when you do not have the chance to say goodbye. We are reminded every day to let the people we love know that we love them. There is little in this world that hurts as much as not telling someone you love them before they’re gone. Many of us avoid these emotions. Don’t let this happen to you. You may find that while you were pushing death aside as something to deal with later you missed out on the opportunity to really show your loved ones how you feel. If we took death (and life) more seriously we would make the most of every moment and not wait until tomorrow.
I believe a part of us hopes this will never happen, hopes we will never lose that someone we love. But wouldn’t it be better to learn to understand our emotions so that we can be better prepared when the time comes and we can say a proper goodbye. I am not claiming to ‘have it all together’ here. I dread the day when I will lose one of those dear to me. This isn’t about finding a way to avoid the emotions of loss. Honestly, I think feeling those emotions are important too! It is more about understanding that the loss is ours and not that of the one who is passing on.
So What Do I Think Happens When We Die?
I can only go on my intuition but I believe we are all connected and that dying is merely a shift, a new chapter, a change in direction. I don’t believe that we have anything to fear besides the fear of pain and loss. Just like you can’t stay indoors all your life for fear of being hit by a car, you cannot live in fear of if you suffer when you die. Allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by the idea of death is robbing yourself of the joy of life. Just like there is no light without dark, there is no life without death. Death should serve as a reminder to be grateful for the life you have been blessed with. Tomorrow you could be dead shouldn’t send you into a panic, it should send you into a reverie for the blessing of life! Soak it up – tomorrow you could be dead!
The other side of the coin of ‘fear’ is not knowing what death is. I am not here to convince you or preach to you about where you will go when you die. I am here to tell you to listen to your heart instead of the echoes of society. Trust that you are more than this body, that you matter beyond this life experience.
I wanted to teach my kids differently
It pains me to think of them living their life in fear of the inevitable. Like a black cloud that blocks the light our entire lives. We go through life feeling like it is all a pointless waste of time. After all, we’re all going to die anyway, so why even bother. What a terrible way to go through this beautiful experience called life. Such a sad waste. If we can change our perception of Death, if we seek out the lessons that Death has to teach us, we can also change our perception of Life.
I want to teach my children not to be afraid of death. Not to believe that their beautiful souls are EVER in jeopardy of being sent to some dismal, eternal fate. They are pure light and love and their souls carry on after this life experience is over. You may agree with me on this and you may not, that is ok. I wish, only, for my children to feel love in their hearts and to know they have a place in this creation.
If you enjoyed this blog read Advice for My Younger Self
Interested in reading Top 5 Regrets of the Dying on The Untethered Soul? The Book Depository has these plus so many more great titles to read!
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Some people are not afraid of their own death. Death is like stupidity, it really it hurts the others. That’s what most people are afraid of, how they will handle somebody else’s death.
I totally agree with you. We are actually fearful for ourselves!
I forgot to add to the comment that I appreciate your courage. It’s a tough topic and you have written it so well. I heard the other day that when we suffer from losing someone that’s how we are still with this person. It’s hard. I will bookmark this article. I also believe we are connected and somehow it doesn’t end all by the last breath of the body. Excellent post!
Thanks so much, Sonia, I appreciate your lovely comments!
I am not afraid of death at all,only of the unknown of how l’m going to dye. But I don’t dwell on it,or have sleepless nights , worrying about it.
Totally understandable. I think as long as you don’t dwell on it you are doing well!
This is a thoughtful post. Yes we are all afraid of the unknown and family left behind after a loved ones dies. I do believe that soul never dies and just transition to another
I agree! Thanks for reading Nishtha!
This was very interesting to read about death. I use to be scared of death but not anymore.
That was such a great perspective on death that I certainly can relate to. As I grew older I started to realize my fear of dying was holding me back from facing the fact that we all don’t get out alive, it’s just a matter of when our time is up. For years I feared death, It was a very “not discussed” topic in my home growing up (that black cloud you mentioned). This is a really great way to help others and especially parents (and children) to get over the fear of dying, not let it be that black cloud that takes over them, holding them back from living for today. Thank you for sharing this! I absolutely loved it!
Thank you so much for your lovely commment, Bren, I am so glad it resonated with you. Writing about Death is risky business and my intention was to lighten it for my readers, to help people see it from a different (more positive) perspective.
Kudos to you for being willing to tackle this subject. Very courageous.
Thank you, Tomeko. It is my intention to spread positive thoughts on the subject, to lighten the subject as much as I can. Thanks for reading!
Excellent topic and the book your read sounds like a great one to add to the list. What you say is true. I have featured a few ‘grief’ focused stories on my site and the response is always mixed. Some people appreciate the acknowledgement of loss, But I’ll always get unsubscribes for those kind of stories. I love that you shared this topic – it’s something we all face, it’s seems odd that we can’t talk about it.
I feel the same way, it cannot be avoided so why not work through the emotions so that we are better able to process them. Thanks for your comment, Karletta!
Very interesting read! I do agree with your point of view. We shouldn’t be afraid of death. In fact, I think we should focus on not taking this life for granted, instead of fearing death. By the way, I loved reading The Untethered Soul!
Thanks for your comment, Yanitza. Yes, The Untethered Soul is incredible!
That is such a thoughtful and insightful post. Very rightly said that we are afraid of anything unknown either knowingly or unknowingly. But I always believe in facing your fears head on.
Unfortunately we let our fear taking away from our joy of living! Thanks for reading, Prajakta.
I remember a friend ask me if I’m scared to die, and I said no, clearly because I think life here on earth is temporary and there is a better world out there that is waiting for us.
It’s a wonderful place to be, to view death this way! Thank you so much for sharing, Jeannie!
Really interesting post. When I think of death I think it’s the fear of not being anything anymore which scares me the most. Simply not being here any more. I’m getting increasingly scared of growing old as well having seen my parents grow old and deteriorate. All that said, my Dad passed a few years ago and I still feel his soul is here somewhere. Thanks for raising this important topic.
Thanks for sharing, Alison. I think what you’ve said about feeling your Dads presence is what it’s all about. Death scares us so much but if we can find comfort in knowing we go on it will be so much easier.